RHS and BBC’s Garden of Hope

After the show the garden will move to a specialist mental health centre for new mothers and their babies, where it will provide a safe and inspiring space

We joined together with the BBC’s The One Show to bring a garden of hope, created by the award-winning designer Arit Anderson, to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. 

The BBC One Show and RHS Garden of Hope illustrated how gardening and growing plants can bring hope and joy and will continue to give comfort long after the September show when it moves to the Rosewood Mother and Baby Unit in Dartford. The unit is part of the Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust, a specialist in-patient centre for new mothers with serious mental health issues, and their babies. It will provide a safe, beautiful sanctuary and place of hope for the women and their babies.

Central to Arit’s design is a beautiful steam-bent wooden sculpture fashioned by sculptor Charlie Whinney, a world leader in using wood in innovative ways, which twists and flows through the garden forming a key feature.

The natural artwork is both beautiful and practical, incorporating covered seating areas, a child’s swing, and creating the feeling of a big hug. 

Garden designer Arit Anderson said: “The most important part of this garden is that it will end up at the Mother and Baby unit, so the whole design for RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been created around where the garden will end up, not where it will start.

But as well as focussing on where the garden will end up, Arit has taken inspiration from the change in season for RHS Chelsea, a first in its 108-year history, and selected plants to celebrate and reflect this change. The garden has a natural feel, with a number of trees, some turning with autumnal colours, and areas of dense rich, green planting at the front, becoming more colourful as you walk through.

Arit wants the garden to both feed the soul and, with it being harvest time, to feed bodies too with a selection of edible plants.

The One Show asked its viewers to contribute by submitting a word that sums up how their gardens have helped them overcome the challenges of the last year along with the story behind that word. Some of these words are inscribed into the wooden sculpture.

Presenter Alex Jones said: “One Show viewers have told us time and again how important their gardens have been to them over the last year and I am so excited that The BBC One Show and RHS Garden of Hope reflects that, and that our viewers will be able to contribute inspirational words to the design.”

RHS Director of Gardens and Shows, Helena Pettit, said:  “When you plant a bulb in autumn you are thinking of the tulip that will emerge in spring; when you plant a small tree you are thinking how over the years is will grow providing shade, privacy and a home for wildlife. Growing plants helps provide hope for the future and makes the world a greener and more beautiful place.”

Award-winning landscapers Landform Consultants built The BBC One Show and RHS Garden of Hope at RHS Chelsea and will do so at the Rosewood Mother and Baby Unit. Mark Gregory and his team worked closely with Arit on this project. 

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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.