A garden commissioned by the British Council and partly inspired by the achievements of Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar looks set to be one of the star entries at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Created by award-winning designer Sarah Eberle, India Garden will celebrate 70 years of the British Council in India and also mark the culmination of the UK-India Year of Culture.
The garden’s design draws on India and the United Kingdom’s shared love of cricket, as well as the legacy of Tendulkar who remains India’s most revered sportsman and is regarded by many fans of the sport as the greatest batsman of all time.
A grass pitch, cricket stumps and bails are all set to feature in the finished garden. Himalayan blue poppies will be planted to represent the Indian national team’s strip, alongside blue orchids, sacred lotus flowers and roses.
Eberle is one of the UK’s leading landscape designers and already has eight gold medals to her name from previous Chelsea shows.
She said: “The British Council Garden will celebrate the connections between the UK and India, drawing on the horticultural connections between both countries. I am working with artisans in Jaipur to develop the exhibit and schoolchildren in India are creating lanterns for the garden.”
Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met the organising committee of the British Council Garden at Chelsea during their November 2017 visit to India. Charles and Camilla took the opportunity to plant a mini-banyan tree donated by Tata Consultancy Services to mark 70 years of the British Council in India.
Alan Gemmell OBE, Director India, British Council, said: “2018 marks 70 years of the British Council in India. We’ve supported the ambitions of millions of young people through our work to train over one million teachers in government schools and by investing in thousands of scholarships and academic exchanges. The British Council Garden at Chelsea continues our mission to inspire people in Britain and India to build connections for the next seventy years.”
In commissioning the garden, the British Council partnered with the Piramal Group supported by Tata Consultancy Services, the JSW Group and Dr Gita Piramal.
Dr Swati Piramal, Vice-Chairman of the Piramal Group, added: “The showstopper in the India Garden will be the rare Himalayan Blue poppy whose colour reflects the blue of the Indian cricket team. “Wearing the Blue jersey” is a metaphor for the aspiration of every young Indian to make a mark on the world stage.”
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 takes place between May 22–26. Tickets are available now through www.rhs.org.uk/flowershows
Main image: ©Sarah Eberle