As you possibly may know I LOVE my garden and I am a big fan of horticultural shows. It was a disappointment to many people that RHS Chelsea had to be cancelled this year due to Covid-19. So, I thought it would be good to share with you all the shoot that I did last year but never had the time to share. Here I am showing images of one particular garden – The Montessori Uk Centenary Garden. I have been working with Montessori UK for the last couple of years and I remember the CEO, Leonor Stjepic saying to me in 2018 that she had had this idea that Montessori UK should aim to have a garden at Chelsea for 2019 to celebrate Maria Montessori’s vision for education that was introduced into Britain in 1919.
I was so thrilled that the garden came to fruition last year and was designed by Jody Lidgard and it won a Gold!
The garden reflected the key principles that lie at the heart of Montessori’s approach to education. Child-led and future-driven, the garden provided an engaging space to nurture children, teaching them about the natural world alongside the modern technology that is the future of horticulture.
The main pink structure was a shipping container – love that shocking pink! Under the main learning veranda there was a child friendly hide-away. A space was used to create a hidey-hole complete with a sculptural, polished concrete swirl to climb into and plenty of cushions to nestle in. A place where only children can retreat to and play or just contemplate. Don’t you remember when you were a child and little hiding places were so exciting!
Amongst the planting there were the most beautiful glass structures which were colourful and fun and made your eye dart around the garden. Part of the garden showed how children can be involved in growing plants from seeds. How about making a potting area which is just a small space for filling pots with earth and seeds was a lovely touch for encouraging kids to grown their own. A low table, trowels, a watering can and some pots are all you need. This greenhouse had a seating area with waterproof cushions so that it can be an inviting place for children. The garden featured several Bee friendly stacks of bamboo and pine cones encased in wire mesh hanging on the walls or trees.
A propagating greenhouse doubles as a teaching area creating a scientific, playful and interesting environment where children can grow micro vegetables and salad leaves using cutting edge hydroponic technology. The covered teaching area benefits from a living fern wall. From here, children can see into the wormery and understand the connections between living things. A dipping pond gives way to a water play station allowing children to learn about measurement, sinking and floating in a fun way, whilst the pergola’s picking platforms enable children to snip, tear and taste, learning through the senses.
As I am also a family photographer, I was asked to document the visit by Tessy Antony De Nassau of Luxembourg with her sons Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah. Tessy was visiting the garden as she is the Global Partner of Education with Montessori UK. She works with the organisation to raise the profile of Montessori in the UK and overseas and helps support its social impact programmes. It was a real delight to meet them at the garden and I was thrilled that she loved the images that I took of her and the Princes. . It was such an honour to document this garden and I am looking forward to working with Montessori UK on future projects.