The Heart of The Matter

The conceptual basis of the garden is the unique ecosystem balance of the four elements – earth (soil), water (precipitation), air (temperature/wind) and fire (disturbance) - the key to local biodiversity and survival.

The visitor enters the garden through a ground storey of sapling aspens and young grasses, which drift upwards and merge into a screen of more mature firs. The planting scheme represents the change in land patterns following past disturbances.

Rounding the corner, one encounters four symmetrically arranged chambers. Enclosing, secretive, yet open for exploration, the rooms represent the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. Each offers different sensory experiences of touch, sound and smell. There is motion and stillness, relation and isolation. Moveable seats allow for contemplation, for watching banners flutter in the wind, listening to the trickle of water through glass, smelling the aftermath of fire, raw earth and new growth.

At the heart of the chambered space the mirrored sphere reflects the chambers, the surroundings, and the visitors, adding a playful and lighthearted note as counterpoint. Shall we see the future there?


Conceptual garden design created by SOLA for 2011 International Garden Festival at Redford Gardens, Canada