THIS garden looks like a bomb site - but the alarming creation is designed to inspire nature lovers to keep calm.

Oxford landscape gardener Joe Francis has created quite a stir with his green space, which includes a deactivated cluster bomb, at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.

His garden is called Calm Amidst Chaos, and highlights the challenges of life and the modern world, while presenting a fundamental solution to help deal with them.

Oxford Mail:

Within a mass of chaos and waste, including rubble, a bomb and a knife sculpture, lies a calm and tranquil garden space that provides a sanctuary away from hectic modern life.

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The contrast between the two spaces left some visitors lost of words as they took in the message at the week-long festival, which finished on Sunday.

Mr Francis, who runs Gardens for Good, has been working on the project for the past 18 months.

He said: “This garden has had a profound effect on the visitors which is what we wanted.

Oxford Mail:

“It’s important that we highlight the challenges we all face in life in order that we can acknowledge them and move forwards in a positive way.”

Mr Francis said there was a ‘message of hope and peace’ with the garden, which was symbolised by the inner haven of the installation.

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He added: “I truly believe that if each one of us on the face of this planet connected with this place of tranquillity on a daily basis we would create a very different world to the one we currently see today.”

Oxford Mail:

Mr Francis has dedicated the garden to the charity Maytree, which supports people experiencing suicidal feelings.

He said: “When you’re struggling in life then you just want somewhere safe to go to get away from it all. That’s what Maytree provides.

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“ I think every town should have a Maytree-style respite centre to help those in need.

Oxford Mail:

“This project is all about raising awareness and starting conversations to show those who are struggling that they are not alone, that there is help and support available and that things can get better.

“From this point of view, the project has already been a huge success.”

Mr Francis launched his company in 2005.

Oxford Mail:

He was born in Oxford and, after some years living away, has moved back with his partner Sinead and three children.

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He has a degree in product design and enjoys using the medium of garden design to bring people and wildlife together.

Oxford Mail:

Accolades include Silver and Gold Medal-winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show. Most of the garden will be relocated to the Maytree charity, which has its headquarters in London.

To find out more about the project and the Maytree charity visit the Calm Amidst Chaos page on