A unique show garden designed to promote awareness and understanding of mental health will feature at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show, sponsored by the pioneering Centre for Mental Health.
The garden, On The Edge, has been designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Winner Frederic Whyte and built by Charles Benton, of co-sponsors Benton Landscapes.
The garden evokes the many journeys that people experiencing mental health difficulties live through as they cope with their condition and manage their lives. It takes the visitor on a journey from darkness and fear to hope and opportunity.
The garden is co-sponsored by Benton Landscapes and Centre for Mental Health, a charity that changes people’s lives by using research to bring about better services and fairer policies. It aims to stimulate a thousand conversations during the event and to prompt more research on gardening, green spaces and mental health.
The garden has also received generous help from Dame Sue Bailey, London Stone Ltd and The RHS.
Centre for Mental Health trustee Dame Sue Bailey said: “I am delighted to be working with Frederic Whyte and Charles Benton to create this unique garden. I hope it will strike a chord with some of the millions of people who experience mental health difficulties and offer hope to those who need it. Centre for Mental Health is at the heart of changing society’s understanding of mental health and the garden will I hope support the growing movement of people who are acting to build a healthier society for us all.”
Frederic Whyte said: ‘Society’s attitude to the complex, multi-layered spectrum of mental health is, at last, developing rapidly. I am deeply moved by and grateful for the opportunity to combine creative skills and personal experience to advocate the cause of mental health awareness’.
Charles Benton said: ‘I am proud to be a part of this fantastic show garden and to be working alongside Centre for Mental Health. I look forward to building a garden that portrays the difficult journeys so many people go through. I want this to be a garden that everyone can relate too and feel the experience of the journeys so many people experience: from dark and fragile, difficult times, to a space of calm and reflection.’
Sarah Hughes, Centre for Mental Health chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring a garden at this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show on the theme of mental health. We hope that it will encourage more people to talk about mental health and to recognise the power of gardens and green spaces to promote wellbeing. We aim to bring about a thousand conversations on mental health through the visionary and compelling garden design by Frederic Whyte and the commitment of the garden’s sponsors and supporters.”