The Red Shift Garden by Julie Bellingham

RHS Medal - Silver

Garden Name: The Red Shift

Designer: Julie Bellingham

Sponsor: Institute of Physics

ContractorJ. Drewe Landscaping & Maintenance Ltd. 

This garden celebrates how telescopes have helped us develop an understanding of our universe.

Early in the last century, astronomers decided to look at the movement of galaxies. If a galaxy is moving towards you, it appears more blue than it should. If a galaxy is moving away from you, it appears more red than it should.

Nearly all observed galaxies appeared more red - they were all moving away from us. Everything is moving away from everything else as the universe itself is expanding. This is called the Redshift and is proof of the Big Bang.

The design features a space to sit (representing 'Earth') with sculptures representing ground and space telescopes. Looking out into the garden from this position, the planting will move from yellows through orange towards reds, representing the Red Shift. This will be interspersed with swathes of dark plants to represent dark matter.

About the Designer

Julie Bellingham of Rockhopper Garden Design is based in Oxfordshire and works across the UK.

Following a successful career in physics, she decided to embrace her deep interest in design, art and gardens and retrained as a garden designer. She first took a 10 week course at the Cotswold Gardening School, obtaining a distinction before moving onto the One Year Diploma. She graduated in 2018 with a distinction and won the prize for top student in the year. 

Bringing together her interests in science and art, her designs take inspiration from varied topics like constellation patterns, data from particle accelerators, Islamic art and conceptual art. 

Julie has a PhD in physics and represented the UK at international science projects including particle accelerators like CERN and telescopes like the Square Kilometre Array. 

She has found retraining as a garden designer hugely inspiring and enjoys working closely with clients to bring their ideas to life. This will be her first show garden and combines her love of physics and gardens to launch her new career.