RHS Chelsea Flower Show

23 – 27 May 2017

Dark Matter Garden for the National Schools’ Observatory

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Designed by

Howard Miller Design Ltd

Built by


Sponsored by

The Universe is dominated by as yet unidentified and mysterious constituents. Without dark matter there would be no planets, stars or galaxies and its presence is only known by its bending of light and vast gravitational effects. The National Schools’ Observatory: Dark Matter Garden, sponsored by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Liverpool John Moores University and Urbis Design, brings the mysteries of the Universe to Chelsea through innovative structures and planting and represents the effect of dark matter on light. A warped lattice of steel rods depicts the bending trajectory of light around massive objects in the universe, implying the presence of dark matter. The team comprises an eclectic mix of astronomers, horticulturalists, construction experts and interestingly is led by an architect.

This garden is the latest example of the National Schools’ Observatory’s mission to use astronomy to enthuse young people about science and technology and its presence at Chelsea 2015 is highly appropriate in the centenary year of Einstein’s theory of general relativity where the bending of light by gravity was first predicted.

Dark Matter: Best Fresh Garden


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