Gardening World Cup - and we won a Silver Medal!
in Nagasaki, Japan
"WE COME IN PEACE"
A Garden of Peace – and Hope – from Africa
South Africa was recently invited to participate in the Gardening World Cup in Nagasaki, Japan.
We did it and won a Silver Medal. The theme was "We come in peace" and Leon kluge of Leon Kluge Garden Design in Nelspruit and I collaborated on the design. We based our theme on the idea that South Africans are proudly personified as a rainbow nation, a diversity of cultures – sharing the same sun, the same earth and all the treasures mother Africa has to offer. The same is true of all the nations of the world - sharing one sun, one moon and one planet. The design was based upon the concept of unity in diversity, and the desire to communicate these traits to facilitate mutual understanding, universal brotherhood and a sustainable, one-planet lifestyle.
There are many untold African stories to share in learning more about each other. Knowing and understanding one another is a vital key to achieving World Peace. This is a fantasy garden, giving interpretation to a native legend or folklore through the medium of floral and garden design, which appeals to the cultural vernacular of all nations.
The heart of the garden was a light feature that epitomises the Creation Myth of the African Bushmen. According to the legend, all animals and people lived together peacefully underneath the earth with Kaang, the great master and lord of al life. It was always light, despite the absence of the sun. During this time Kaang planned the wonders he would create in the world above.
The first of these was a great, wondrous tree, a tree with branches stretching out over the entire homeland. A hole was made at the base of the tree where the animals and people lived. Kaang led the First Man out of the hole. The First Woman soon followed, and behind her all the people and animals. Thus the story of life on earth begins.
The central light feature is the embodiment of this tale. From an illuminated hole an abstract tree sprouts forth. Stainless steel rods of random lengths were used to carry original Bushman clay sculptures of man and animal, climbing onto the great tree and into a new world. These silhouettes were eerily lit, allowing the imagination of the viewer to wonder into the mystical world of the spiritual realm.
The central light feature is enclosed by a deconstruction of the traditional Ndebele clay hut. This hut is an international icon of indigenous South African culture and an important architectural vernacular. The walls of this hut were decorated with traditional Ndebele designs created from recycled plastic packaging rolled in to rosettes – an innovative, uniquely South African art form. The roof of the Ndebele hut evolves from the great tree, based upon a vertical garden structure, planted in an tapestry of colour, texture and organic forms. The remaining horizontal space was segregated subtly into planting areas that emanate from the central dwelling.
The Garden has a strong African look-and-feel, with distinctive cultural design elements and appropriate planting.