With less than two weeks until the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the build of designer Kate Gould’s garden for Greenfingers Charity in full swing, we want to give you some more insight into the careful creation of this garden and the many features that we re-create in our other gardens to provide a stimulating environment for seriously sick children and their families.
The plant colour palate is fresh, predominately green and white with flashes of yellow. The hard landscaping and even the plant content had to be thought through very carefully with access for wheelchairs a high priority, so nothing spiky on pathways that would scratch limbs or puncture tyres. Furniture and sculpture elements have to be comfortable and accessible, plus stimulating and interactive wherever possible. The garden will be showcasing our very own new plant; ‘Choisya Greenfingers’, sales of which will generate royalties for the Charity. Trees selected include, Hippohae rhamnoiodes, Pinus nigra, Amelanchier canadensis and Arbutus unedo, as well as other evergreens, many of them kindly donated by Majestic Trees.
The lower pathway is made from expanded mesh which will have lots of lush green planting beneath it. The walkway transverses over 60cm and over a distance of 12m, it’s 1.4m wide in order to make it wheelchair friendly. The upper walk way structure is made of DesignBoard which is being supplied by London Stone, a durable composite decking.
Every good garden has a water feature of some sort and The Greenfingers Charity Garden is no exception. The water feature that Kate has designed for the garden will be an upright wall, with powder-coated metal hands scattered on the front. As water travels down the wall and passes over a weight on the back of the hands, they will move and seemingly wave.
The garden is set on two levels and the mode of transportation from lower to upper level will be by lift, in this case no ordinary lift. It will be combining a DDA compliant lift and an innovative water lift, to create a hybrid between the two. Water is held in troughs, the displacement of the water in these troughs up and down a pulley system operates the lift. The lift will be 1100cm x 1400cm on the base platform to allow a wheelchair user, a carer or family member to stand with the child. The lift will be constructed out of powder-coated metal to match the rest of the structure. The challenges of building this structure will be making it look as elegant as possible while maintaining its functionality and for that to blend into the garden seamlessly.
Garden art is a popular addition and what better way to stimulate children than by incorporating interesting wire work fruit sculptures by sculptor Emma Stothard. Craft experts Linum Loom have donated a novel apple swing seat.
Landscapeplus are donating lighting to make the garden as usable as possible in the real world. Kate has worked in conjunction with the team to create a series of interactive fibre-optic light shapes, a leaf, a cloud and others which will be activated by a series of buttons to engage the children.
FurnitureA fun cargo net donated by South West Play will hang on the upper deck for kids to relax in, take in the view and watch what is going on in the garden below from a height advantage! Kate has chosen matching fabrics in vibrant prints, plain and geometric patterns from Christopher Farr Cloth to add a sense of fun and compliment the scheme, these will be turned into a selection of bespoke cushions and beanbags by the Outdoor Cushion Company.
The colourful glazed bricks by Ibstock will be seen on the back wall and part of the sloped walkway on the lower level. They are there to create interest and bounce the light around as the glazing creates a superb reflective surface. Oxford Planters have generously donated comfortable yet robust seating.
Lynch Plant Hire have provided all the machinery for putting the garden together and Concrete Singh the concrete for the foundations.
The Garden is located at : MA 336 – we hope you will come and see us if you are visiting the show this year.
The Greenfingers Charity Garden has been made possible thanks to the generosity of a private donor. This is the first Greenfingers Charity Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Kate Gould’s first full-size Main Ave Show Garden at Chelsea. We hope that our presence at the Chelsea Flower Show will raise awareness of our work and in turn allow us to build many more gardens in the future.