WON AN AWARD AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW IN 2011
The Sky Garden won an award at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2011 and it was planned for the Sky Gardens to come to Cork. The ‘pink pod’ element of the Sky Garden makes a stunning viewing point on the banks of the river next to the museum. It is also the centre piece of a state of the art gallery garden incorporating a cafe terrace, beautiful planting arrangements, a new impressive glazed canopy and an incredible series of stainless steel spheres and domes set amongst paths and planting arrangements.
Diarmuid Gavin (born 10 May 1964) is an Irish garden designer and television personality. He has presented gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show on nine occasions from 1995 to 2016, winning a number of medals, including gold in 2011. He has also authored or co-authored at least ten gardening-related books.
In May 2011 Gavin returned to Chelsea after a three-year gap, with his “Irish Sky Garden”, which attracted funding of more than €1.7 million from Fáilte Ireland, the Irish tourism body, and was also supported by Cork City Council. Gavin described the garden as inspired by the Oscar-winning animator Richie Baneham (who drove visual effects for Avatar), as well as by the “suspended table” novelty restaurant concept, and by the Midsummer Festival of the Senses at Cork, the landscapes of Capability Brown, Charles Jencks and the some Italian Renaissance figures. The garden was built in an ovoid container suspended more than 25 metres above the ground. Twenty-five reflecting and flowing pools on the ground showcased the garden, which could be visited by show-goers in groups of up to eight. This garden won the gold medal at the show.
The Sky Garden attracted controversy when Cork City Council in Ireland agreed to put the garden on permanent display at Fitzgerald’s Park in the Mardyke area of the city – at a cost of at least €300,000 to the cash-strapped council. The decision attracted widespread criticism including that of a number of Cork city councillors with Councillor Ted Tynan pointed out that there were over 500 boarded up local council houses in the city and demanded clarification from the council as to what the exact cost of the garden would be. In the end, the garden was not set up in its full form, but aspects of its design were used in a reworking of Fitzgerald’s Park.