See the world's first knitted garden

Find out more about the unique handmade creation at RHS Malvern Spring, designed to bring a smile to your face


Clare Young with knitted flowers
We're used to seeing lush, green plants in the gardens at our shows, but this year, supported by friends, crafters and community groups, Clare Young created the Work of Heart Garden - a poignant show garden that was displayed at the festival as a tribute to her husband and the hospice that cared for him.

Plants for health and wellbeing

Demonstrating the importance of plants in our everyday lives, the unique feature garden measured 4m x 4m, and depicted a hospice bedroom bursting with knitted plants known for their healing properties. It featured lavender, used by complementary therapists for relaxation and to promote sleep, and rosemary, proven to restore memory, to symbolise remembrance.

Suzy Hillier, Malvern's Head of Commercial, commented:

“It is said that a beautiful garden is a work of heart, and as RHS Malvern values the role horticulture plays in our health and wellbeing, we’re delighted to able to showcase this unique installation.”

Clare's road to recovery

Following the death of her husband Ken, Clare was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety and her clinical psychologist suggested taking up knitting as a way to help her symptoms. So, needles in hand, she began to create knitted Christmas decorations and Easter Bunnies which raised £1,300 for the hospice in which Ken was treated.

L-R Elise Hoadley, Clare Young, Suzy HillierThe successful venture was followed with a yarn-bombed* message of thanks in the hospice grounds which, in turn, led to an invitation to do something really special at RHS Malvern Spring Festival. Suzy Hillier, from Three Counties Showground, came up with the idea to knit the garden at Clare's 50th birthday party, and both agreed that it was a fitting tribute for what would have been Ken's 50th in 2018.

volunteer knitters with their knitted flowersIn the run-up to the festival, Clare and her team of knitters - The Knits - teamed up with knitting groups, community groups and knitting shops to encourage knitters and crafters to create 10,000 small hand-knitted or crocheted hearts for the show garden. These handmade hearts were then made available for visitors to place on trees around the garden (in return for a donation to the hospice charity), making it a living and growing display over the course of the show.

Work of Heart garden model  

Healthy gardens, healthy lives

In 2017, RHS Ambassador Jekka McVicar unveiled the first permanent garden at RHS Malvern Spring Festival. Her Health and Wellbeing Garden was designed to be a useful and beautiful space where people can relax and benefit from the positive energy generated when surrounded by plants. 

*Yarn-bombing is a type of street art that utilises colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarns to deliver a message.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.