Chelsea Flower Show: Inspire Wellbeing aim to raise mental health awareness
One of the gardens most likely to get a reaction this year is Mind Trap by Ian Price, for the Northern Ireland Mental Health Association, now known as Inspire Wellbeing.
Dark pools and withered plants will contrast with healthy plants, as you might expect.
But the interesting thing about this garden is that the designer was inspired by his own experiences with depression, culminating in an attempt to take his own life.
“I seriously considered ending it all in my mid to late 20s and then had a resurgence of the depression in 2010 and ended up in hospital,” he has said, admitting taking pills and alcohol to try to end his life.
Gardening as a health therapy is just one of the strategies used by Inspire Wellbeing (inspirewellbeing.org) and other health welfare organisations.
The Linklaters Garden For Maggie’s, one of this year’s show gardens, illustrates the late Maggie Keswick Jencks’ campaign to create gardens at cancer centres so that patients did not “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.
Back in the Fresh Gardens section there’s the Breast Cancer Now Garden Through The Microscope, designed by Ruth Willmott in memory of her sister-in-law.
The garden features jagged rocks to represent cancerous cells and smooth rocks for healthy ones and there are three vertical circles to represent the microscope lenses.
“The goal of the charity is to stop breast cancer taking more lives, so the garden looks through the microscope lenses to see a blacked-out microscope slide at the back of the garden with a circle of perfect, healthy cells visible in the centre,” says Ruth.
“The garden allows us all to share in this goal and the work of the charity and look ‘Through The Microscope’ to a future where all cells are healthy.”
Other Fresh Gardens this year include Kate Gould’s City Living, highlighting the importance of greening city spaces; Inland Homes: Beneath A Mexican Sky by Manoj Malde, which suggests drought-tolerant plants, and The Bermuda Triangle by Jack Dunckley.