Health, happiness and healing gardens

Award-winning designers focused on the strong links between gardening and wellbeing

The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture

The RHS Greening Grey Britain GardenDesigner Ann-Marie Powell created the official RHS Garden for the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored by M&G Investments. As part of the RHS Vision and Greening Grey Britain initiatives, this garden was intended to build awareness of the positive healing effects that gardening can have on people’s health and happiness.

Bright borders

Her colourful front garden design featured bright borders to lift the spirits, benches to relax and share a chat on, soothing water features, a bee-friendly perennial meadow, edible plants in pots and a stylish kitchen garden. The ideas on show were designed to be incorporated in both private and community gardens - great inspiration for visitors to take home.

Heart and soul

Ann-Marie said: “Gardens and gardening do more good to heart and soul than they are ever given credit for and I’m delighted to be helping the RHS shout about this at a world-famous flower show. It’s important that my interpretation on a front garden theme is full of take-home ideas for both individuals and communities and I hope it will inspire visitors and viewers to get involved in Greening Grey Britain. Too many people are paving over their front gardens but anybody can have a beautiful front garden.”

Watch this video to find out more about the garden and how it is bringing together residents of a London housing estate.

A Modern Apothecary Garden

Award-winning organic gardening expert and author Jekka McVicar designed A Modern Apothecary Garden inspired by conversations with medical professionals about what we can do to improve our own health with the help of plants. Its guiding principle is also the quote by Hippocrates: 'Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food'.

A Modern Apothecary GardenJekka’s apothecary garden was her first Show Garden at Chelsea. It is a small tranquil space with 'wellness' at its heart, and features plants that research has shown to be of beneficial use to the health and wellbeing of society.

Jekka created a place of quiet reflection, highlighting the important relationship between medicine and nature, with a lavender-lined path to calm, a water feature and a pair of benches for quiet contemplation.

Jekka has been designing, growing and creating herb gardens for more than three decades and has been awarded 62 RHS Gold medals and, in 2009, the Lawrence Medal. This first Show Garden for Chelsea coincided with the announcement that she is now an RHS Ambassador.

More 2016 Chelsea highlights

RHS Front Garden Summit

Senri-Sentei Artisan GardenA key part of our Greening Grey Britain Campaign is about transforming paved-over front gardens into beautiful, planted areas. Our Front Garden Summit aimed to focus attention on the negative effect this has on the environment and our welbeing, and ask: how we can turn our front gardens green again?

You can tweet your comments on #greeninggreybritain or email [email protected]


Everything Chelsea

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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.