No Man's Land, courtesy of the Chelsea Flower Show

First World War Centenary garden 'No Man's Land' at Chelsea Flower Show

Posted on on 21 May 2014
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ABF - The Soldier's Charity has developed a special garden for the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

A host of celebrities, including Stephen Fry, Nigel Havers and Rowan Atkinson toured the show and lent their support to the Centenary garden, entitled No Man's Land.

Mr. Atkinson read Wilfred Owen's Anthem For Doomed Youth in the garden, whilst Mr. Havers read the poem A Soldier's Cemetery by John William Streets. Mr. Havers remarked that it is "just the most beautiful, peaceful garden. And it's the right year to do this".

This morning (Tuesday 20th May), it was awarded gold by the judges.

Stephen Fry poses with Joey from Warhorse, alongside fellow Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson and Caroline Quentin, courtesy of ABF - The Soldier's Charity

The garden represents the regeneration of the landscape in war-torn northern France, complete with a water-filled crater. The garden acts as a metaphor for the effects of war "on the human body and spirit and our capacity to recover and heal".

Charlotte Rowe, who designed the garden, spoke of her grandfather's experiences during the First World War. Aged 19, he took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Her design is full of symbolism: an area of mixed native and ornamental planting amongst limestone setts represents the villages and towns that were destroyed or badly damaged during the conflict; whilst an excavated area below ground and a number of grass mounds reflect the prominence of trench and tunnel warfare.

ABF - The Soldier's Charity has also recreated the famous trench magazine The Wipers Times, which was produced by British soldiers during the conflict.

The modern day take on the magazine will include extracts from the original paper, news from the garden and contributions from today's war correspondents: John Simpson, Kate Adie and Caroline Wyatt, alongside Stephen Fry, who is writing in the guise of a descendent of Blackadder’s General Melchett.

The re-creation of the magazine will be handed out at the show, whilst a digital version will be made available for every day of the Chelsea Flower Show - the 20th - 24th May. You can subscribe to receive them here.

Source: ABF - The Soldier's Charity & Chelsea Flower Show

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News