Samaritans’ Listening Garden

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Samaritans’ Listening Garden is inspired by stories of people who found the courage to reach out to Samaritans in their darkest times.

At the front of the garden, suspended concrete panels hang above a planting layer of spiny plants and dark colours. The pathway into the garden appears cracked with deep fissures leading down into blackness and the sound of gushing water. Stepping through the garden, things become calmer and more open, with a collection of Ulmus minor, and a sunken level with a sculptural bench which allows two people to sit, talk, listen, and be heard.

Sculptural seats positioned throughout the garden remind us that taking time to talk can change our perspective on the world. A sculpture of a female figure by Andrew Litten, called Listening, sits in a quiet corner, waiting to hear the thoughts of those who pass through.

Designed by Darren Hawkes, who has recently qualified as a listening volunteer, the garden is a special opportunity to celebrate the charity’s 70 years of supporting people. A remodelled version of Samaritans’ Listening Garden will be permanently relocated at a Samaritans branch.   

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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.