Dancing grass and flowers that speak back have “mesmerised” visitors at the world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show.

The garden, created for Scottish charity the Teapot Trust, uses microphones, headphones and “various audio techniques” to unveil the unique sounds of nature around us.

And it was not just visitors who were enchanted by the Elsewhere Garden with the landscape receiving a gold medal from the Royal Horticultural Society judges.

Susan Begg and Nicola Semple, who run East Lothian-based landscape designers Semple Begg, have been working in partnership with the Teapot Trust on the garden – which will eventually receive a permanent home at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children.

The Elsewhere Garden is rooted in a “childlike expression of creativity” that echoes the process of art therapy.

READ MORE: Behind the Scottish garden that 'speaks' to visitors set for Chelsea Flower Show

The Herald: There is an open invitation to engage with the plants in the garden (Andrea Jones Photography)There is an open invitation to engage with the plants in the garden (Andrea Jones Photography) (Image: Andrea Jones Photography)

“You see people when they put those headphones on and speak into the microphone or touch the sensors on the plant that they are utterly transported,” Mrs Begg said.

“You see them lean in a bit closer and no longer hear the background."

The sound installations and sculptures are the work of her husband and sound engineer Michael Begg as well as audio-visual artist Kathy Hinde.

They made use of sensors, tiny computers and even an ECG machine to create the “magical feel” of the garden.

Mrs Begg added: “Working with them has been a revelation, it just brings a whole different dimension to the garden.

“Watching people out there today, there are droves of people queueing up and we can’t charge these headphones fast enough.”

While Semple Begg is “delighted” with the gold accolade on their first trip down to the Chelsea show, they are equally “thrilled” for the Teapot Trust which has had the chance to spread their mission of providing art therapy to chronically ill children.

Chief executive of the charity Sarah Randall praised the “brilliance” of the design and added: “The most important point is that we’ve never lost sight of the reason we created the Elsewhere Garden – to reach more children so that their lives can be transformed through the healing power of art therapy. For us, that’s gold.

“We are so grateful to Project Giving Back’s funding that has enabled this to happen, helping us reach more children and their families who will benefit from art therapy.”

The Herald: Teapot Trust's Elsewhere Garden comes to life for the Chelsea Flower Show (Andrea Jones Photography)Teapot Trust's Elsewhere Garden comes to life for the Chelsea Flower Show (Andrea Jones Photography) (Image: Andrea Jones Photography)

The Elsewhere Garden, both at Chelsea and its future iteration set for Glasgow, was made possible through Project Giving Back which is dedicated to promoting charitable causes at the flower show.

It truly came to life during the show’s first-ever Children’s Picnic as more than 100 pupils flocked to the garden.

“They were mesmerised, and it made me just think about the kids in Scotland and giving them that opportunity as well,” Mrs Begg said.

Mr Begg added that the school pupils “went crazy for the garden”. He said: “The kids were playing with all the interactives, talking to the plants, and dancing around to the soundscapes.

“Then all the teachers wanted to get involved so they could listen. We thought there was a real warmth being generated by the people experiencing the gardens.

“The queues of the schools were all backed up because they were coming in batches and it was expected that they would spend seven minutes per group on this garden but they just didn’t want to go.

“I thought we are really on to something here.”

READ MORE: Rare plants travel from Glasgow to world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show

The Herald: Teapot Trust's Elsewhere Garden comes to life for the Chelsea Flower Show (Andrea Jones Photography)Teapot Trust's Elsewhere Garden comes to life for the Chelsea Flower Show (Andrea Jones Photography) (Image: (Andrea Jones Photography))

It was not just the pupils who embraced their childlike wonder, even the “serious” adults were not able to resist the magic.

“The delight on their faces when the grass started dancing back at them, any pretension or façade peeled away, and they just became kids again,” the sound engineer added.

While the garden has been in planning for around 18 months, it had to come together in just 12 days for the show.

Semple Begg was supported in the construction by Stewart Landscape and Water Artisans but it was still an “intense” few days.

The main components, responsible for most of the sound magic, had to be laid down first before the plants.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” Mr Begg said. “We were pulling 16-hour days, topped and tailed with a five-kilometre walk here and there from our digs. It was exhausting but we kept each other going.”

However, his wife explained that her favourite part so far has been the build and praised the “incredible talent” that helped put it together.

It is still just the beginning for the Elsewhere Garden. The next steps see it reconfigured so the same magic can be brought to the patients and families in Glasgow.  

The chair of the Teapot Trust, Ruth Girvan, said: “As chair and also as the mother of a child with a chronic invisible illness, Gold represents the golden moment of opportunity we now have for our small charity to grow and reach any child who needs the transformative nature of Teapot Trust art therapy, through the huge platform of awareness it has given us.”