Nature is healing. Vitamin G is the new supplement prescribed to enhance our well-being, lift our spirits and heal our minds and hearts. The Sanctuary Gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are a fabulous way to showcase design styles and concepts that support health, healing and positive change. Here are five that caught our attention for different reasons.
The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden 282*
This garden is absolutely packed out with plants. The woodland planting provides structure and depth to the space and it is underplanted with masses of perennials, many of them in full flower. Blood red poppies, dusky red verbascums, blue irises and purple red cirsiums have been chosen to stimulate conversation and attract and support biodiversity.
It’s a garden designed for children, providing them with outdoor space that they might not have access to at home. The garden is seasoned with sculpted seats and large boulders providing places for sitting, chatting and play. A child friendly tippy-toe path adds texture, interest and leads around the garden.
Designed by Jamie Butterworth (formplants.com)
The Stitchers’ Garden 286*
Sometimes the gardens at flower shows portray a message or a story. This one has been designed to celebrate Fine Cell Work, a charity teaching prisoners needlework. It’s a skill that nurtures their self-worth and encourages them to lead independent and crime free lives upon release.
Within the garden is a space delineated with steel and woven willow that replicates a prison cell. It represents a prisoner’s space and leads out to a still pool and a herbaceous bed of pale yellow, cream and pink flowers. A larger pavilion created with similar materials to the cell represents the creative exchange between prisoners, designers and the charity.
The overall feel is restful and inspiring offering a calming and colourful space that is uplifting, optimistic and expansive.
Designed by Frederic Whyte (FredericWhyte.com).
Connected, by Extante 561*
Children love stories about hollow trees and there’s something very calming about being enclosed by woodland. Connected by Extante is a cool, calm woodland sanctuary featuring a larger than life tree stump with a green roof and a skylight to the stars and sky.
It’s simple but stunning. I love the idea of an oak home sanctuary surrounded by woodland. Inside is a chic workspace complete with a quirky oak shape water feature window along the back wall. It’s the perfect space for forest bathing and a chance to really immerse yourself in nature.
Designed by Taina Suonio (rmgardens.fi)
The Boodles Travel Garden 621*
It was the plants that stole the show in this sanctuary garden. The stars of the garden are from different corners of the globe, a reflection of a journey taken in 1962, around the world in just 16 days, taken by Anthony Wainwright, the grandfather of the current chairman of Boodles. The whole garden has been designed to create a calm sanctuary of rest and reflection on this journey. It’s a delight, mixing attractive barks and stems of Acer davidii from China, a potted Cyathea cooperi from India with a stunning bark pattern and the starry flowers of Cornus controversa from East Asia.
There’s even a journey through the garden, mapped by the path that divides the lush green borders. The burnt orange and blue hues lift the borders and create a sense of movement.
Designed by Thomas Hoblyn (Thomashoblyn.com)
The BodyShop Garden 563*
The journey of regeneration applies to the planet and to our own wellbeing and this garden from The Body Shop encapsulates these concepts. Charred remains represent a diminished forest floor, with a single plant struggling to survive. Sometimes our minds reflect this scenario as we struggle with the doom playing out across the world. But there’s a sequence of regeneration on show here, sowing the seeds of hope and healing not just the planet but our souls too. I love the explosion of plant life reflecting the new generation of change-makers and activists fighting the current global issues. It’s a positive message that we need to take the time to nurture ourselves and the environment so that life can thrive.
Designed by Jennifer Hirsch (beautybotanist.com)