Each year, the charity chooses a concept for its garden which reflects the vital work it does to beat cancer. The theme for 2010 is ‘enlighten’, with the garden celebrating how the work of Cancer Research UK has increased our knowledge and understanding of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Myers explores the theme through concepts of discovery, light and shade, colour and contrast within the garden.
Visitors will be taken on a journey full of contrasting environments. When entering the garden, an informal group of birch trees creates a sense of enclosure. The pathway is uneven, rough and dark with the surrounding plants creating a monochrome palette of colour.
As visitors’ journey of discovery continues they come across a terrace in the centre, the stone path becomes more regular, smooth and lighter, the space more open. The planting develops into a colourful and bright display surrounded by pools of water with water lilies representing lotus flowers, a Japanese symbol of enlightenment. At the centre of the garden is a relaxing space, bathed in light, where people can meet, talk and share knowledge.
As the visitor moves towards the rear of the garden, their discovery continues. The planting gradually becomes more formal and regular with the introduction of a grid of clipped box cubes, and the environment becomes more open and ordered.
The garden is surrounded by a slatted timber ‘cloister’ creating vistas and ever-changing shadows, and the terrace is over-sailed by a dramatic slatted canopy with a central circular opening, drawing light to a circular reflecting pool beneath. As the sun moves through the day, the light and shade in the garden will change. Light is a key feature of the garden because knowledge can be the light, which gives people hope when experiencing cancer.
Robert Myers, designer of the Cancer Research UK garden, said: “The garden’s aim to ‘enlighten’ is represented conceptually as a ‘journey’ towards calm, order, serenity and rationality at the heart of the space; physical concepts of enlightenment are explored in the use of light and shade, shadow and contrast.”
Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re delighted to be returning to Chelsea Flower Show for the eighth year and to once again be working with Robert Myers, who won us the People’s Choice Award last year. We chose ‘enlighten’ as this year’s theme to celebrate how our work has increased knowledge and understanding of the disease. This increased understanding of cancer has helped survival rates double in the last thirty years, and our work has been at the heart of that progress. Robert has done a superb job on our garden and in bringing our chosen theme to life.”
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to cancer research. One in three people will get cancer at some point in their lives but, thanks to the charity’s groundbreaking work, millions of lives have been saved across the world and more people now beat cancer than ever before.
The garden will be procured and constructed with environmental impact in mind. Where possible recycled materials will be used and plants and materials will be sourced from suppliers within the UK. After the show elements of the garden may be auctioned for the charity, otherwise plants, structures and paving will be relocated to a Cancer Research UK institute.
Cancer Research UK’s garden is funded entirely by an anonymous donor.
For further information please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300. Out of hours, the out of duty press officer can be reached on 07050 264 059