Saturday 18 November 2017

Toilet takes centre stage in garden

The Hae-woo-so garden features a toilet as its centre piece
The Hae-woo-so garden features a toilet as its centre piece

A toilet may seem an unusual feature at the Chelsea Flower Show, but the traditional Korean belief that emptying your body also means cleansing your mind has led to it becoming the centrepiece of a garden.

People thought for centuries that going to the toilet was a cathartic experience, and considered it to be highly spiritual. That has inspired the Hae-woo-so garden, which is the Korean word for a traditional toilet.

In Korea, it used to be normal for the toilet to be located in the backyard, far from the house, so the garden has an untouched appearance with wildflowers dominating. Even the pathway to the toilet is significant, as the process of emptying your mind starts with the walk through the centre of the peaceful garden.

Jihae Hwang, who is believed to be the first South Korean garden designer to exhibit at Chelsea, described the gardens as a personal quest for relaxation.

She said: "I wanted the audience to feel that they are stress free and when they see the garden they want to empty their minds of worries.

"When I was planning the garden I was under pressure and I was worrying about so many things in my life. By doing this garden I wanted to free myself as well."

She added that she had no doubts about the validity of a garden based on a toilet at Chelsea, saying: "I think gardens can contain any ideas, any places or any things from life.

"There's no limited number of topics you can make a garden from. Why not a toilet?"

Press Association

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