A garden of hope

MMM Magazine September 2021
Pic: © Rachel Sampson Design

This Chelsea Flower Show garden will live on in a Dartford mother and baby unit.

With millions of people turning to gardening to lift their spirits, and many of us hoping for better times to come, the BBC’s The One Show and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), are joining forces to bring a Garden of Hope to the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which this year runs from 21-26 September.

The BBC One Show and RHS Garden of Hope, designed by award-winning garden designer and TV presenter Arit Anderson, will illustrate how gardening and growing plants provides hope and joy as we look forward to enjoying the fruits of our labours as our plants flourish and grow. 

Even better, the garden will live on after the flower show at the Rosewood Mother and Baby Unit, Dartford (part of the Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust), to provide a safe, beautiful sanctuary and place of hope for the women and their babies to spend time in.

Central to Arit’s design is a beautiful steam-bent wooden sculpture which twists and flows through the garden, incorporating seating areas, a child’s swing, and creating the feeling of a big hug. 

Arit has commissioned sculpturer Charlie Whinney, one of the world leaders in using wood in innovative ways, to design and create the natural artwork. This will be a key feature at both the Chelsea Flower Show and Rosewood, providing something beautiful to view within the space, as well as covered seating and safe places for the women,who are struggling with perinatal mental ill health. 

Arit is also embracing the fact that the 2021 Chelsea Flower Show will be a moment in history with it taking place in the autumn instead of summer, and is selecting plants to celebrate and reflect the season. 

The garden will have a natural feel with a number of trees, some turning to autumnal colours, and areas of dense rich green planting at the front, becoming more colourful as you walk through it.

Arit wants the garden to both feed the soul and, with it being a key harvest time, feed our bodies, too, with a selection of edible plants. 

She says: “The most important part of this garden is that it will end up at a Mother and Baby Unit, so the whole design for RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been created around where the garden will end up, not where it will start. 

“Central to everything in it is how I hope it will help those using it at Rosewood over the coming years. I want it to provide the women with hope and a place to relax in and feel nurtured in, in the way that only being immersed in nature can nurture you.”

For more about the show, visit: rhs.org.uk

PICTURED ABOVE: The BBC One Show and RHS Garden of Hope, designed by Arit Anderson