The Evaders Garden at RHS Chelsea

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Evaders Garden at RHS Chelsea

We've been keeping an eye out for sculpture at this year's RHS Chelsea, and there's an abundance of beautiful pieces to see, but when we came across a garden featuring a sculpture of an RAF navigator, we saw much more than a beautifully crafted statue... The Evaders Garden by John Everiss is by far one of the most heartfelt and stunning gardens we've come across in all our years at Chelsea Flower Show.

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Photos by David Bartholomew.

Inspired by John's WW2 RAF evader father Stan Everiss, the garden is a beautiful story of friendship and freedom against all odds.

Stan Everiss was shot down over enemy lines in war torn France, his plane crash landed in a field, between two trees which knocked off fire damaged wings and fuel tanks thus saving the lives of the crew. Before fleeing the scene Stan took a photograph of the wreckage and then buried his camera and watch.

photo John's dad took of the wreckage he escaped from

With three crushed vertebrae, Stan would have been in immense pain, and almost certainly wouldn't have been able to escape the crash site if it hadn't been for a courageous 18 year old, Raymond Berrau, who bundled him into a wheelbarrow and pushed him to safety.

Protected, hidden and issued a false identity by the french resistance, Everiss survived and later went back to the site to retrieve his buried possessions.

John's father's false identity

In John's Chelsea depiction of the story, a shadowy figure crouches in a corner of a war-torn church, a parachute billowing out before him, his eyes looking up towards a stained glass window depicting two French civillians who are there to help him. The names of the people who protected him are engraved into bricks in the wall.

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All photos of The Evaders Garden by David Bartholomew.

The garden took immense work and research, the parachute path was hand carved from Portland stone by Thompson Dagnall, the code poem hand carved into the wall by a master letter carver, and the stained glass window created by Irene Mackay.

To create the metal RAF pilot sculpture, John hired an original RAF uniform which his son posed in for a 3D scan.

John dressed in RAF uniform to pose for 3D scan

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3D scan

The scan was then utilised to create the metal masterpiece made up of plates of metal spaced to allow light to shine through producing an incredible ethereal effect. 

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The garden has been awarded a silver gilt medal, and we are so pleased to hear it will become a permanent feature at Astley Hall in Lancashire after Chelsea Flower show.

We urge you to go and visit it, it really is a spectacular creation which must be seen first hand to truly understand.

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