Celebrating Wisdom

The garden will feature a number of audio clips which will offer visitors some vivid personal snapshots of the older generation. As well as inspiring accounts from a number of our homeowners, memories of family life and war time evacuations; there are also recordings from British Olympian Dame Mary Peters, and Madeline McGill, a former midwife and one of the first women in the UK to take the contraceptive pill.

Chris Beardshaw explains: “The audio within the design is a key element in the concept for the garden as I wanted people to be able to engage with the garden in a way that is rarely possible in a show garden. This is after all no ordinary garden, as the essential ingredients are being provided by those celebrating their later life.”

Former guitarist with The Stranglers, John Ellis, 61, has also left his mark on the garden, both by having recorded his own personal memory, and by writing a brand new acoustic song which was inspired by the garden concept and the voices left by the others.

Entitled ‘Spring in her step’ the song provides the perfect soundtrack to the thought-provoking installation through its lyrical interpretation of the beauty, grace and wisdom that can blossom in later life. Starting with the line “Hey girl got a spring in your step in the autumn of your life, everything you do turns to wonderful,” John Ellis wrote the three-minute song after hearing the audio stories and discussing their content with designer, Chris. He said: “I can really see the synergy between the garden’s concept and the properties McCarthy & Stone builds. These developments are places that really encourage people to flourish, and that is something you can hear that idea reflected throughout the stories. This song is really just a celebration of that process and expression of how great later life can be.”

We’re delighted to have John performing the show on the preview day at the show.