Garden of Reflection

“Traveller, there is no path, paths are made by walking”

Antonio Machado

A contemporary restorative landscape that offers a journey away from the everyday distractions and stresses of our busy lives. A contemplative and unique place where we can just ‘be’ – rather than always ‘doing’.


The calm centre of the garden and a place for reflection will be a Poustinia. A Poustinia is a small room where one goes to pray alone in the presence of God.
“To go into the poustinia means to listen to God. It means entering into kenosis – the emptying of oneself.” (C. Doherty, 1975)

The design for the Poustinia, within the Garden of Reflection, has evolved to become a simple and contemporary structure. It will provide the function of a traditional Poustinia but it has been designed to respond to its context to enhance the contemplative experience.

The Poustinia was designed by BCA Landscape, with assistance from Booth King Engineers and constructed from ultra-high performance Ductal Concrete and made in Northern Italy by Il Cantiere.

Booth King Partnership ltd are a respected and award winning structural and civil engineering practice, who have also collaborated with BCAL and the Artist Stephen Broadbent on other sculptural work, alongside their work in education, healthcare, commercial and industrial sectors in the UK and internationally

Il Cantiere is recognised as being the best interpreter of ultra-high performance concrete worldwide and specialise in manufacturing high specification sculptural pieces. They have made many pieces for prestigious locations, including the Louvre as well as many in Italy and France. In the UK, they supplied the ‘Staircase to Heaven’, a staircase in the London offices of architect Zaha Hadid, and have recently installed a staircase at Somerset House.

The Sculptural Stone Seat was designed in collaboration with the artist Stephen Broadbent and Wolff Stone.

Prairie Planting
Lush perennials form blocks of strong colour. The formation of the blocks takes inspiration from the stained glass windows in the Bishop’s Palace.

Colour Garden

The arrangement of the planting in bold en masse patterns mimics the colours and shapes of the stained glass window in the Bishop’s Palace, creating a direct relationship between hard and soft and new and old elements within the Palace grounds.

The colourful planting will bring seasonal interest and provide a haven for birds, bees and butterflies.

Elsewhere, Birch trees create a striking setting for the Poustinia. The delicate foliage will cast gentle shadows over the Poustinia to arouse emotions and create a changing experience.

The planting has been developed alongside garden staff and will consist mostly of native trees, Taxus baccata (yew) hedges, native but garden-worthy perennials, and herbaceous perennials and grasses in a prairie mix.


2 thoughts on “Garden of Reflection

  1. Pingback: Poustinia leaves Italy! | BCA Landscape

  2. Really like the way you guys have displayed the process of how this project came together. It looks like a really nice scheme.

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