Perspex® used in Gold Medal winning garden at world's largest flower show.

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Perspex® used in Gold Medal winning garden at world's largest flower show.

Featured product: Perspex® Cast Acrylic

Perspex® has been specified for many applications but maybe none quite as curious as this year’s award winning conceptual garden at the world’s largest flower show. With coloured glass eschewed in favour of Perspex®, Tony Smith’s initial question of “how does it respond when you hit it with an axe?” was not covered in the approved processing guidelines.

However, with a positive and practical answer to the question, the pointed Perspex® acrylic shards were ‘produced and planted’ into a bed made of one million lettuce seeds. With planting some 14 days prior to the show, to allow for time to germinate before judging, the acid green lettuce bed appeared as though spilled onto the unrolled tarmac floor and set around the coloured shards.

Surrounded by a wraparound, black outer wall, unadorned with anything other than keyhole windows, the brightly coloured contents of the garden, entitled Ecstasy in a Very Black Box, could only be viewed in sections. Designed by Smith as a visual representation of bipolar disorder, a condition characterised by extreme mood swings, “the dual nature of the condition was reflected in the sharply contrasting textures, colours and shapes”.

With the form and placing of the Perspex® acrylic shards something akin to a Zen sand garden, this is where any resemblance to a garden would end, with critics covering Hampton Court for the BBC having “a hard time considering it a garden, more a work of art”. The Royal Horticultural Society agreed, confirmed with a Gold Medal and Best in Show award.