The CHERUB HIV garden: A Life Without Walls

Space to Grow

Did you know...

  • The walls across the path in the garden were to symbolise the stigma and fears of young people living with HIV
  • Impression of hands, set as flowers into the steel-like bench, were taken from young people living with HIV, many of whom are reluctant to disclose their HIV diagnosis. 
  • Aquilegia, Iris 'Blue Moon' and Drimys winteri were planted around the open seating area, contrasting the stark planting around the clinical white shelter

About the garden

Conceived by Professor John Frater from the University of Oxford and collaborators from CHERUB, A Life Without Walls garden acted as a metaphor for the journey a young person living with HIV faces today. The white pod at the top of the garden represented a clinic and a cocoon of safety from the outside world. Around it, the planting was regimented and minimal.

The path from the pod through the garden represents a move to a life of more freedom, as well as the obstacles encountered, and this was represented by increasingly loose and less structured planting. The open seating area towards the front of the garden acted as a symbol of a society without prejudice. Here the planting was warm, bright and less formal.

All Show Gardens

Get involved

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.