Sophie Walker’s garden isn’t like any garden you’ve seen before. First of all, it’s in a box. Second, it contains only the rarest of plants collected from faraway places. And third, it’s somewhat unreal: The lighting is artificial, and the air is always misty.
The effect is a “dreamy reality between what is discovered and what is imagined,” says Walker, “like looking into a kaleidoscope to discover a rearranged expanded world.”
Her “Cave Pavilion” is an exhibit at an upcoming London flower show, where it will stand for about a week. After that, Walker hopes to build more gardens-in-boxes and place them in city settings.
“I’d like to see Cave Pavilion in a truly urban site like New York. It would be magical set among skyscrapers with a river running through it at vast scale,” she says. “I love the idea that contained within a simple box could be something that evokes another world entirely and feels limitless.”
The plants were collected by professional hunters Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones and are likely to be unknown even to plant experts. Walker wants to disorientate “even the most studied botanists” and make everyone equal in front of the landscape.
“You have to look at the plants, not know about the plants,” she says. “You are free to make emotional judgements based on the design without being burdened by past experience or knowledge.”