On The Edge: The Centre for Mental Health Garden

The topical issue of mental health is explored in this garden of two parts, which conveys the journey through depression to acceptance

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Did you know...

  • Designer Frederic Whyte drew on his own background to create the design - 'It's been a cathartic experience building this garden,' he says
  • The darker and lighter sides of depression are conveyed by planting, with grey foliage representing a sense of emptiness, evolving into more colourful borders
  • There are two small pools: one containing fragmented glass that gives broken reflections to show the fragile state of a depressed mind, the second pool is clearer with a single reflection, conveying a sense of calm

About the Garden

This allegorical garden tells the tale of a journey from mental ill-health to acceptance. The garden creates a physical evocation of the journeys people take to manage their condition.

It is entered via a narrow path, cutting through a spiky planting scheme. A tall hedge exacerbates feelings of claustrophobia. The visitor is led towards an uncomfortably steep staircase into a shady and disorienting space. Venturing on, they step out to an increasingly broad, open staircase, leading down into a therapeutic space beside a reflective pool.

Surrounded by a gentle, optimistic planting scheme, the space alludes to the hope of a new start in life.

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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.