Photo: Chelsea Flower Show, 600 Days with Bradstone

Chelsea Flower Show: 600 days with Bradstone. Best in Show 2007.

The Brief

A garden located in a permanent space station on Mars. The garden represents the personal space of an Astronaut or Scientist on a 600 day tour of duty. The garden took 8 years to research in collaboration with the European Space Agency and the British Science Museum. Although futuristic everything within the garden including construction methods (making concrete, smelting iron and using earth rammed walls) is in the realm of current scientific possibilities. The garden was as exciting project from day one and grabbed the imagination of every one who became involved.

About the Garden

The garden is an investigation into the psychological effects of long term stay in space. As such it is a very valuable research tool and of much scientific interest. The design investigates what plants one would grow to provide psychological support in addition to a bland but balanced predominantly freeze dried died supplied from Earth. The plants are for personal use although any surplus would be donated to the community. Plants are selected for three criteria: Bio mass needed for the provision of Oxygen; medicinal and edible. The Rest Pod is the actual size and dimensions of such features in space craft where astronauts go to relax and ensure diurnal balance. The partial cone is shaped to ensure correct posture in reduced gravity thereby encouraging relaxation. The steel masts carry robotic irrigation pods which provide water to the planting and pots below. The pots carry crops that can be grown and harvested quickly, thereby reducing disturbance to more long term planting groups involved in gaseous exchange. These pots contain water-cress and calendula. The calendula provides vivid colour (important for psychological support) is medicinal and edible. The Carob trees provide an alternative to both cocoa and coffee which are difficult to grow in space while varying types of chillies provide interest for the palate. The steaming geyser is where the perma frost is melted and pumped to the surface.

About the Materials Used

The rammed earth walls represents the Mars regolith (soils) being utilised to provide solar protection over a presumed Kevlar dome. The rock represents the Mars surface with its igneous granite and basalts while the molten lava is represented by steel clinker (a by product of steel smelting). The paving represents the 'scorched earth' patterns found on the surface of Mars. Bradstone invested almost a full year into the research and development of these products and the spectacular results speak for themselves. As one passer-by remarked "look…edible concrete!".


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