...into a Light Garden

And so from the darkness, into the light. Some of the 'Into Light' plants used have evangelical and triumphant names that resonate with the garden's religious themes - Salvation, Sundance, and Golden Sword. I kept a look out for the silver foliage of Astelias throughout the light garden but couldn't see any.

 The only garden to include live music - what a treat!
A Special Salvation Army bandstand

A Spiritual Garden

The garden has spiritual significance and draws on Salvation Army virtues to create an uplifting garden design. On the Sunday before the show Commissioner Alex Hughes, the leader of the Salvation Army UK, dedicated the garden. He later joined Sir Richard Carew Pole, the RHS President and the Royal Hospital Chaplain in blessing the 2004 Chelsea Show.

The Sound Of Music

Aside from the occasional garden radio, the Show Gardens at Chelsea were unusually quiet. The only gardens we saw that used sound were the New Zealand Chelsea Garden's bird song and this, the Salvation Army bandstand, complete with ambient garden harp music.

I wonder if Moosey would like to be serenaded in her garden by a harp playing plicky-plucky uplifting scales? I have seen her and Stephen practising Viola and Violin in the Apple Tree Border.


The more I heard old lady English gardeners muttering about 'schoolboy maths book doodles', the more I like the bandstand. It is everything that Diarmuid's balls should have been - an integral garden feature that complements the plantings.

The designers could have chosen a solid shape to house the band in. Instead, by using triangles they've kept the shell-spiral form intact. It allowed more light to bounce and splash around onto the surrounding whites, golds and silvers where it is needed most.

 Just this small corner of the bandstand shows off the impeccable workmanship.
Bandstand Plantings

The shape of the bandstand is strong enough to give privacy inside for the band members, and creates another part of this garden for a visitor to explore.

A band needs a stage, a stand or better still a bandstand to play on. The bandstand is most effective because unlike Diarmuid's balls, it serves a clear visible (and audible) purpose.

 Cream flax, green hosta leaves and rose blooms.
Hosta, Flax & Rose

Garden for Sale or Rent... Heucheras 50 cents...

On Saturday 5th June at their Hadleigh Training Centre in Essex, the Salvation Army are selling all of the 150 plants used in 'from darkness into Light'. The sale starts at 2:00pm and Julian Dowle will be there to answer all your questions.

The Rosa Salvation bushes will be gone long before they are available to the public, and many of the plants are difficult to find in most garden centres.

BBC / RHS Chelsea Flower Show People's Award 2004

 Bex loved these plants, but was scared to find out they might be CARNIVEROUS.
Light Water Feature Plantings

While the RHS judges only awarded 'From Darkness into Light' a silver medal, the garden was clearly a favourite with the public. There was a different air surrounding the Salvation Army and Buildbase's entry, a sense of calm unlike the other show gardens. Perhaps it was all the harp's doing, or maybe it was the first unhyped show garden we saw after Diarmuid's balls, Bunny's oars and a Best in Show you couldn't see inside.

BBC Viewers have been voting by pressing red interactive TV buttons (NOW!) and by voting on the BBC and RHS websites. Interactive television and the internet allow the votes to be cast quickly, and Julian was presented with the BBC / RHS People's Award from the balcony on the final day.

 The Salvation Rose was bred specially for the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show.
Salvation Rose with Hosta 'August Moon' in Background

While the world's media do seem a bit 'voting mad' at the moment, I'm all for the BBC / RHS People's Award. The Chelsea Flower Show public need a chance to differ from the judges. This difference of opinion between ordinary show goers and the judges is an integral part of the Chelsea experience. The People's Award is here to stay - and we'll be casting Moosey's Country Garden's vote next year.

 The entrance to the Light Garden.
Welcome You to the Light

Moosey's Favourite Chelsea Garden

If my mother is going to have me charging around chelsea for five hour on her behalf then I will take the liberty of voting the Salvation Army Garden her favourite garden of the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show. On her behalf. I'm sure it would have been her favourite.

From Darkness to Light merges the two principle themes in Moosey's life : music and gardening. Include some mathematics from the bandstand and you have a trinity of gardening, music and maths.

From Darkness into Light uses some very Moosey plant and colour combinations. I know nothing of my mothers garden influences. Perhaps Bev Mcallum and her share a common New Zealand garden style?

When Rosa Salvation is available in New Zealand we will plant one in honour of 'From Darkness into Light' - Mooseys favourite Chelsea Garden 2004.