Aesthetics Did Not Come Into The Equation

This morning, I received a tag from my friend June Brokas, prompted by yesterday’s post, to this news item from ITV:

‘A place for reflection: ‘invisible’ shed wins top prize

Invisible shed
“Invisibility Tardis Shed of Navel Contemplation. Credit: Manchester School of Art

An ‘invisible shed’ has scooped the top prize in the ‘Shed of the Year’ competitiion at RHS Tatton.

Manchester School of Art were joint winners of the ‘Shed of the Year’ prize with their ‘Invisibility Tardis Shed of Navel Contemplation.’

Invisible shed
Clare Knox Bentham and Adrian Digaudio Manchester School of Art Credit: Manchester School of Art

As well as a mirrored exterior, the shed has mirrored walls on the inside reflecting any visitor back on themselves infinitely.

As a finishing touch, the artists added a mirror ball, turning the humble garden shed into a miniature disco.’

We think that is going a bit too far.
Hinge plateRusty screwHinge plate lowerAfter yesterday’s searing heat, much of the morning was spent watering the hundreds (I do not exaggerate) of containers and the recently planted flowers.
Those readers who have read earlier posts about the work done inside the house will know that our predecessors appeared to be DIY enthusiasts.  If there were enough ill-fitting materials to make something work, aesthetics did not come into the equation. If it were at all possible to position objects unaligned, crooked, or not matching, there would be no problem in finding a way.
Cut screwsSo it was with the industrial strength hinge plate screwed halfway up the wooden arch into the rose garden. Set somewhat askew, and too wide for its post, with one empty eye socket,and a sagging cheek, it pleaded with us each time we entered that area. The Head Gardener decided it had to go. I knew at the outset that this would be a hack-saw job, but in order to avoid that, I initially, rather less than hopefully, tried screwdrivers, and even a bolt cutter.
Whilst labouring with the saw, I glanced down and spotted another plate at the foot of the post, thus confirming my suspicions that there would once have been a gate attached. Though why the structure had to be so strong was a mystery. The Head Gardener, of course, knew that the lower plate was there. She had hoped I would take that one off as well. My initial reaction was that no way was that going to happen. I couldn’t get down there for a start. But, on reflection that seemed rather churlish. So, using Jackie’s kneeler as a seat, I did the job.
Rose Love Knot
Love Knot
Rose Festive Jewel
and Festive Jewel
are both comparatively short climbers we have placed within small obelisks.
Clematis Warsaw Nike
A clematis Warsaw Nike has taken to the Ace Reclaim Arch,
Fuschia Frosted Flame
and fuchsia Frosted Flame, suspended from the dead Snake Bark maple overlooks the Brick Path.
Children in tree tunnel
I took a short walk into Downton Lane, sat on a wall, and waited for a shot. Two children entering a ‘tree tunnel’, obliged.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole (recipe) served with creamy mashed swede and potato, and crisp carrots and cauliflower, followed by apple and cherry pie and cream. The Cook supped Hoegaarden whilst I quaffed Teroldego Rotaliano superiore 2011.


  1. Thrilled to be mentioned in your blog. The mirror ball was definitely too much, loved the shed though.

  2. I thought the title, “Aesthetics Did Not Come Into The Equation”, was referring to the shed – as indeed it should. If I was given one, I would pass it on to Cynthia. I loathe it with a vengeance! The Head Gardener fortunately already has a shed. Give me crooked industrial strength hinge plates over the mirror travesty any day!

  3. I can’t make up my mind on whether I like that shed or not. Unless it’s weather treated, being mirrored it wouldn’t be invisible once exposed to the elements for very long. I wouldn’t like to clean it. Birds would probably fly into it and knock themselves out. I guess I don’t like it much after all, lol. Very fun and interesting though!

      1. Yes, I didn’t think of that, I bet birds would fly into it. Someone has probably studied this because of the modern skyscrapers that are so reflective in big cities.

  4. A shed wherein I see myself mirrored to infinity? There’s nothing aesthetically pleasing in that thought Derrick! I prefer Jackie’s little wooden shed with the bunting and the pots and the seat thank you. Sometimes designers simply don’t know when to stop.

  5. Now if the Tardis shed would follow its namesake…! 🙂
    Once again, I get stuck on the roses – think I’m addicted! Can almost smell them.. Aaah!
    The garden really is looking good Derrick – you must both be very proud (hard work notwithstanding!) 🙂
    Again, thanks for sharing!

  6. Once more to the shed of “invisibility and… navel contemplation”….which was entirely aesthetic and had nothing to do with real life or pedestrian usefulness…. I’m happy you showed it to us, Derrick, if only as a curiosity and a work of the imagination. ( If you get one, Bruce, send it on. I can think of lots of things to do with it, none of which have anything to do with gardening, of course.) Chacun à son gout!

  7. What a great shed! I feel your pain with the DIY stuff. My house has not one single level or straight edge in sight (and it was constructed in the 1980’s) so trying to add, fix or remove anything takes on an entire life of its own!

  8. I can see the shed in the right place. mirrors inside and the disco ball are a bit much, but the art students might have been trying to spice up the lives of gardeners as they imagine them. As for DIY and that hinge, there’s a reason to know a good handy man.

  9. Awesome shed Derrick – I’ll bet it got its fair share of lookers! Gorgeous flowers, but I’m in love with the shot of the children walking through the tunnel.

  10. Derrick,
    I find that gorgeous shed so interesting. I wonder if the sun, reflecting off the mirror, would change the temperature near by. Wouldn’t it be cool if one could keep near by flowers or vegetables producing for a longer season by creating a micro environment? Would a mirrored chicken coop keep hens laying longer? Now that I think of it, I wonder why the standard chicken coop isn’t built like a U creating a courtyard which certainly remains warmer.

  11. Way to go, Manchester School of Art – I love the invisible shed. Is Jackie getting any ideas?!
    Your garden is a delight – I look forward to my daily dose?

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