Four Women From Europe Travel to Japan to Build Gardens for World Peace
September 02, 2011 at 9:28 AM
Four women from Europe will be travelling half way across the world to build gardens for world peace and to compete for medals for their countries in Japan’s Gardening World Cup this October.
The women have been invited to compete in this unusual event which takes place in the South East of Japan in a 17th century Dutch replica theme park the size of Monaco, Huis Ten Bosch. With its proximity to Nagasaki, the theme is deliberately, ‘gardens for world peace and aprayer for Japanese recovery’. This year it is being held in aid of the victims of the Japanese Tsunami and opens on Saturday 8 October.
A total of 16 designers, four female and 12 male, have been picked to represent 12 countries and five continents and, with the playing field made equal with fixed budgets and pitch sizes, it’s like no other world class gardening competition. Visitors will see ‘peace’ gardens by the best designers from Australia, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Sarah Eberle from England will represent Britain; Jo Thompson, based in England but with an Italian background will represent Italy; Anouk Vogel based in Amsterdam but born in Geneva will represent Switzerland; and Maro Avrabou who lives near Paris will represent France.
As professionals, with established careers, the female competitors have impressive gardening design pedigrees:
- Sarah Eberle, who runs her own business in Hampshire has an esteemed record in RHS shows medals. This year she won gold at Chelsea with her Monaco garden giving her a total of nine gold medals, one Chelsea ‘Best in Show’, one RHS Hampton Court Flower Show ‘Best in Show’ and two George Cooke medals for innovation twice at Hampton Court.
- Jo Thompson runs her practice from Kent, and also has studios in Dorset and London. She won gold and ‘Best in Show’ (urban gardens) at last year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show and won silver gilt in the previous year. She has been named by House and Garden magazine as one of the 10 rising stars in garden design. She tutors at the London College of Garden Design. And she is also curating an exhibition entitled ‘Bright Green Shoots’ at the UK National Gardening Show in September 2011, where she will bring together a group of exhibitors practicing innovative techniques in gardening.
- Anouk Vogel studied landscape architecture in Manchester and has her own practice in Amsterdam. Her versatile work includes gardens, parks, furniture, bridges, interiors, and art pieces. She is the winner of many international competitions, including the urban garden festivals ‘Bilbao Jardìn’ in Spain and ‘Lausanne Jardins’ in Switzerland, winning both in 2009.
- Maro Avrabou whose work deals with light and colour in theatre, dance, installations and gardens lives near Paris. She works on site-specific projects, indoors and outdoors, around the world. Collaborating with colleague Dimitri Xenakis, last year’s commissions include an architectural light design project in Lyon, a garden for the Modern Art Museum of Sao Paolo, Brazil, a garden for the 5 Seasons Festival Chaudfontaine, Belgium as well as competing in last year’s Gardening World Cup.
Each of them have chosen very different designs and interpretations of peace:
In the show garden category:
Sarah Eberle’s, ‘Finding Unity’, illustrates how gardening crosses cultures, politics and religion and engages with nature in a healing experience. Her design offers a contemporary European interpretation of ‘motifs’ for peace - the Japanese Hill and Pond, the Greek Elysium Fields and the English Picturesque.
Jo Thompson’s ‘The Reconnection Garden’ is a place of retreat to be with others to discuss and connect and a place to be alone. The three large olive trees will create a peaceful grove and the three metre diameter rippling pool adds to the feeling of calm providing the gentlest of movement.
In the courtyard category:
Anouk Vogel’s ‘Folding For Peace’, is filled with white origami style paper plants; a link to an ancient Japanese legend promising that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish for long life, or recovery from illness or injury. With each fold and each wish the paper garden slowly flourishes.
Maro Avrabou (with Dimitri Xenakis) bright and bold ‘Flower Power’ design is a humourous reference to the slogan used in the late 60’s and 70’s symbolising peace and non-violence. Here Maro and Dimitri also use these words to express the power of nature, the power of life.
The women have two weeks to build their gardens ahead of a televised Oscar nomination style awards ceremony on the 7th October 2011 at which the judges announce the winners.
Last year’s show saw 100,000 people visiting in the first week and it was so popular that it was extended by a further three months.
For more information visit: gardeningworldcup.com
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