Chelsea: RAF Benevolent Garden
Monday, May 23 , 2022
We are back at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and we are very excited to see the latest garden designed by John Everiss. This garden is for the RAF Benevolent Fund, helping people who have served in the force and their families. This garden is very close to John’s heart as his father served in the RAF during the second World War.
A Chelsea Veteran
John Everiss has created many gardens over the years at Chelsea, from the artisan Meningitis Now Garden to a tribute the D-Day Landing that featured at Cheslea in 2019, which now sits as a permanent feature in France. John has created Chelsea gardens in a range of sizes, with his signature statues to create visually striking spaces.
Many of his gardens have a war veteran’s theme. This year’s garden is no exception and it’s really close to his heart
A Family Tribute
This year’s garden at Chelsea is to commemorate the the Battle of Britain. But it also tells the story of his father who was in the RAF Bomber Command during WWII. His plane was went down over France and as it was crashing he guided the plane between two trees to remove the wings and slow down enough to evacuate. Surviving the crash, he was helped by the French Resistance and walked between safe houses through France until he crossed the boarder into Gibraltar, where he was able to contact British Forces and go home. His family thought they would never see him again and were overjoyed to be reunited many months after his plane was lost. This garden has been made in honour of John’s father.
The garden has a huge statue of an RAF pilot looking skywards, watching for planes as a tribute to the Battle of Britain. There is a large Larch bench so visitors can look up to the sky and imagine what it would be like to see the Spitfires returning home. The statue is made in layers that gives it a ghostly appearance from the past.
The detailed statue was modelled on John’s own son, George, now in his early 20’s who never met his grandfather. This garden is a way to connect the generations around John, making the garden extra special. George even wore the RAF watch his grandfather wore. He buried it after the crash in 1943, in case he was caught behind enemy lines. When he returned for the watch in 1947 it was still in working order!
A real family story shared with everyone at Chelsea.
The Garden To Remember
The RAF Benevolent Fund has been helping the families of RAF service people for one hundred years and this garden is a tribute to all these people who have helped our country in the RAF. This garden will be recreated at RAF Biggin Hill after the show as a permanent space to remember those who served, as part of their history trail.
Working With John
Over the years we have worked with John on some of his projects. We made a bespoke temple that then aged especially for his Meningitis Now Artisan Chelsea garden. It was engraved by our talented onsite engraver, Nigel Hartfield.
John is renowned for his epic use of statues and sculptures. He scanned survivors of Meningitis for his 2016 garden to powerfully convey the impact this illness has on young people and their bodies, in collaboration with the charity Meningitis Now.
John has won multiple awards from the RHS over the years, making his mark as a Chelsea designer, who always creates bold designs with ambitious and surprising materials.
His 2018 Myeloma garden featured an enormous Perspex head, made in multiple layers that shone in the sunlight. He always combines his statues with a wealth of plants to support the story of his gardens.
We are at the show
We are back at the world famous flower show with our friends Griffin Glasshouses. Come and say hello at stand RWH6111
Our octagonal fountain is proudly on display between the beautiful glasshouses. Our general Manager Steve Clark will be at the show to talk to customers.
If you can’t make it to Chelsea you can come along to our Open Day on Saturday 18th June between 10am and 4pm to see how we handmake our stone and have a go at engraving with Nigel Hartfield. Free entry and parking. Dogs are welcome on leads and there will be refreshments available.
We have a wide range of garden ornaments and statues to help you create your perfect garden designs at home.
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