Andy Sturgeon, a highly regarded garden designer had won several medals in past years from the Chelsea Flowers Show. Almost a year prior to designing a Chelsea 2010 show, Andy’s life forever changed.
His partner, Sarah Didinal, the mother of his three young boys - Luke, ten, Cameron, seven, and Tom, five - had enjoyed Chelsea Flower Show with him.
A week later Andy found her dead in bed. She was only 37, apparently fit and healthy. She died from an irregular heartbeat. Her last post on Twitter read, 'Going to bed happy.'
Andy reflects on the Daily Telegraph, …..'The way I dealt with Sarah's death was by having goals - positive things to work towards, that are more about the future than the past, or even the present,' he says. 'This garden has been one of the tools I've used to help me along.”
“I had the germ of the idea when I was on holiday with the children (after Sarah’s death) in Italy last summer, every day looking out at a dry landscape of evergreen oaks and lavender.”
'I never normally design anything so quickly. But I had this idea of screens so I made a scale model and a few walls, which I slid around, and got down to check the views. This design is all about the views. It's a metaphor for life. You have choices in the garden - two different ways to go. Depending upon which path you take - the direct path or the winding path - you has different experiences along the way. As you journey through life, the screens open up and allow glimpses of what you might have experienced if you'd taken another path, but you end up at the same destination."
As a visitor walks around the edge of the garden they also discover ever-changing views. Three runs of Cor-ten steel subdivide and frame the garden. Three edifices of Purbeck stone walling add to the suggestion of an enclosed courtyard, while maintaining a sense of openness and space. The contemporary gravel garden has open clearings of sparsely planted gravel, which provide places to pause on a journey that culminates in a courtyard at the rear. A stately Cork Oak (that he searched extensively to find) and the sound of running water combine to create a contemplative retreat. Let Andy take you on a tour of his garden.
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