A Game of Cricket – At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London!!

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Cricketing greens took a new meaning at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London – with the ‘British Council Garden India: A Billion Dreams’ installation.

Cricketing fame and money are dreams most schoolboys in India grow up with – those who make the cut achieve a status going beyond mere sportsmen. They are the Gods representing the hopes and aspirations of a billion Indians. It was thus apt for famed garden designer Sarah Eberle to be called upon for an installation representing cricket!!

The garden had been commissioned by the British Council in partnership with the Piramal Group supported by Tata Consultancy Services, the JSW Group and Dr. Gita Piramal. It celebrates 70 years of the British Council in India and the culmination of the UK-India Year of Culture.

Catching attention were the oversized wickets and cricket balls in the installation – one could not be faulted for imagining they had been transported to the stratospheric end of Jack’s beanstalk. An emphasis on blues in the planting represented the colours of India’s national team. These included the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis), a species discovered in the late spring of 1922 by a British expedition led by legendary mountaineer George Leigh Mallory. The Blue Orchid (Vanda coerulea) was first collected in the Khasia hills of India, in the modern state of Meghalaya, by Thomas Lobb who travelled through India between 1848 and 1853.  The orchid flowered for the first time in Britain in December 1950. I could also spot the Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) which has inspired Hinduism and Buddhism as well as artists through the ages. Not to miss were the roses (Rosaceae). The flower of the Mughals, rose motifs often feature in Mughal architecture across Northern India, including at the Taj Mahal.

If the theme is Indian, it may only be apt to have pieta dura walls of flower patters inlaid with semi-precious stones including lapis lazuli. The walls were built by craftsmen from Jaipur, the fourth generation of a family engaged in similar work.

Enjoy the game through these photos!!

The trip was facilitated by British Airways and British Council India.

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Sarah Eberle
Sarah Eberle

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