Chelsea Trends: Caring For People
Monday, May 22 , 2023
It’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show week! Join us to read about what’s blooming in the biggest horticultural display in the UK, if not the world! There are some reoccurring themes across this year’s show gardens. One strong link is care, understanding and compassion for people. Let’s take a look at the key gardens encouraging people to respect and reach out to one another to connect and improve lives together.
Samaritans Listening Garden
Designed by Darren Hawkes
This garden follows the journey of someone calling the Samaritans. The entrance is oppressive, weighed heavy with cumbersome concrete slabs precariously suspended on thin wires.
The ground is cracked with deep fissures that feel they could fall away beneath your feet at any moment. The planting is thorny with roses, thistles and spiked aralia. This represents the trepidation of people when they first reach out and call.
The next section of the garden is calm and open, a place to feel sanctuary, with open planting like a tranquil woodland glade. This garden is to support people and help them realise they’re not alone.
The Centrepoint Garden
Designed by Chelsea legend, Cleve West.
This garden funded by Project Giving Back for Centrepoint highlights the plight of homeless youth. The garden depicts a typical Victorian suburban home destroyed by a fallen silver birch. The tree uprooted, like the family. All that remains are the fragments of the hearth, the traditional heart of the family home.
As the house is abandoned, nature roots through the rubble, providing shelter for wildlife and insects, offering the site the chance to heal and regrow. The garden on first glance my seem weed-ridden and uncared for, but it is a thriving ecology offering a second chance to repair and grow, which represents the support provided by the charity for young people, so they can gain the opportunity to create a new future where they can flourish.
The hoarding around the garden was painted by Cleve, each dot represents the number of homeless helped by Centrepoint in a year.
The Eastern Eye Garden of Unity
Designed by our good friend Manoj Malde. Read our interview from previous shows here.
As the RHS ambassador for diversity an inclusion, Manoj has created this vibrant space that celebrates his Indian heritage and his passion for plants in a glorious, cohesive space that smells as spectacular as it looks! Manoj is passionate that gardening is for everyone and there’s certainly something to welcome everyone to this space. With gorgeous hand painted planters in , bursting with blooms, to a bold pergola in pink and orange that spans a large table of trinkets and blooms that are both there to inspire and share important aspects of Manoj’s life.
The space is accessible for wheelchair users and while the fragrance draws people in there are braille inscriptions to tell the story of the space for those who have visual impairments. The fence is painted in a mixture or pinks, oranges, aubergine and alabaster both as great backdrop for the plants but also for a welcoming coziness, ‘to be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud’ (Maya Angelou).
Manoj has married his long term partner, Clive on the garden, making it extra special.
Designers Harris Bugg Studio
This restorative, sensory garden has been designed for patients recovering from a spinal injury. After a long time spent convalescing bed hospital beds, patients need a safe and accessible space to adjust, to learn to use their wheelchairs. Working with NHS staff, patients and loved ones from the whole Horatio community, the team have created a beautiful and immersive haven away from the busy, clinical hospital environment for a transformative effect to help the adjustment, to come to terms with a devastating and traumatic spinal injury.
The garden puts people with mobility needs at the very center of the design. After the show it will be replicated in Sheffield at the Princess Royal Spinal Cord Injuries Centre.
The garden includes a water feature, which can be touched at wheelchair height and encourages wildlife. There are stone cairns placed as a symbol of gentle guidance when the path is unclear. At the rear of the garden is a woodland garden building, a cocooning place for physical and emotional shelter.
Check back tomorrow for more Chelsea news or pop into our show gardens in Kent for more garden inspiration.
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