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CWGC wins people's choice award for first Gardening Scotland garden

29 May 2017

CWGC along with veterans’ charity Glen Art, and the Wilfred Owen Association have been awarded the people's choice award and a silver medal for this year’s Gardening Scotland (June 2 to 4).  The garden was created to commemorate the CWGC’s centenary and Wilfred Owen’s stay at Craiglockhart in Edinburgh in 1917.

The ‘One Hundred Years of Remembrance’ garden is a first for the Commission at the Gardening Scotland show in Edinburgh and was designed by the CWGC’s very own Gardener Caretaker First Class, Robert Ross, and was built and created by veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder from Glen Art.

Created by veterans of today, it commemorates the centenary of the CWGC which has practiced high-quality horticulture around the world since 1917 and the centenary of the four months Wilfred Owen, poet of the Great War, spent in Edinburgh from June 1917.

The garden encapsulates the heart of the Commission and what it stands for – remembering the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives during both world wars, across more than 150 countries.

On the first day, the violin, owned by Wilfred Owen, was played in the garden.

In Scotland alone, the CWGC cares for more than 20,000 graves and memorials in more than 12,000 locations.

The special garden features a fantastic bust of Wilfred Owen, created by award-winning sculptor Anthony Padgett. The plants are the same as those used by the CWGC, which is the largest horticultural organisation in the world, accompanied by a large stone statue from one of the Commission’s naval memorials.

Robert Ross, from CWGC who designed the garden and is also a member of the Royal Scottish Horticultural Association, said: “When I was asked to design this garden, my thoughts immediately turned to the rich gardening heritage of the Commission and the way our planting has evolved over time. 

“From the large, flowering plants advocated by Gertrude Jekyll nearly a century ago, our signature style has evolved into the more regimented yet equally beautiful turf-framed planting schemes in our cemeteries today.

“I sought to bring together these two eras that speak of the formal structure of our cemeteries abroad, with the Luytens-designed bench providing a place for rest and contemplation.

“The sculpture of the unnamed serviceman and the bust of Wilfred Owen represent both those many thousands who lie with their names unknown to us, and those whose stories continue to be told to this day.”

Fiona MacDonald, Director Glen Art, added: “Glen Art supports veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and we couldn’t be prouder of them and the beautiful show gardens they create each year at Gardening Scotland.

“This year, working with the CWGC and Wilfred Owen Association makes this centenary year particularly important, as veterans of today commemorate those who served in the Great War, including the Great War poet Wilfred Owen."

A spokesperson for the Wilfred Owen Association, said: “The Wilfred Owen Association is delighted to have an opportunity to commemorate Owen’s time in Edinburgh, where he was sent to recover from shell-shock in 1917.

“It’s particularly apt that the garden is being created by current veterans who are also coping with shell-shock, known today as post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We’re hugely honoured that the award-winning sculptor Anthony Padgett has contributed a bust of Wilfred Owen to the One Hundred Years of Remembrance Garden, and to be working with the CWGC, whose work around the world includes the grave of Wilfred Owen in France, where he was killed, a year to the day of his departure from Edinburgh on 4 November 1917."

David Richardson, Director of Horticulture CWGC "Great to win a silver at Gardening Scotland and very proud to be associated with Glen Art and the Wilfred Owen Association on this project working with our team in Scotland to produce this beautiful garden.

It was particularly moving to see another of the Portsmouth boys on display together with a beautiful contemporary bust of Wilfred Owen."

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.gardeningscotland.com