A show garden designed to promote awareness and understanding of mental health will go on display one month today at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show, sponsored by the pioneering Centre for Mental Health.
The garden, On the Edge, is 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.
It draws on the designer’s personal experiences of depression to describe a journey from illness to recovery, from despair to hope and a belief in a better future. It tells a story familiar to many millions of people who have experienced a mental health difficulty. Frederic Whyte said: “The garden attempts to represent the path from depression and self-doubt into a more positive space through the use of plants and landscaping materials. It is not a ‘conceptual’ garden, but what I would like to call a ‘narrative’ garden and, like all good stories, it is both deeply personal and universal.”
It draws on the designer’s personal experiences of depression to describe a journey from illness to recovery, from despair to hope and a belief in a better future.
Charles Benton, of Benton Landscapes, said: “A picture can say a thousand words, but a garden can bring a thousand emotions. Centre for Mental Health inspire me with their care and passion in who they work with, and I can feel how passionate they are to help people with their lives on the road to recovery.”
Centre for Mental Health has an ambition to inspire 1,000 conversations about mental health during RHS Hampton Court and in the months that follow.
The Centre’s chief executive Sarah Hughes said: “We want the garden to help people to connect, to talk and to listen. Over the course of the week, we will create a platform for people who have lived with mental health difficulties to speak and to share their experiences. Through a series of blogs, we are collecting stories about people’s own journeys: all of them unique and personal. And we will be asking visitors to the garden to tell us what helps their wellbeing. Through it we will build up a picture of what helps people to have better mental health.
‘On the Edge’ will help to bring about many more conversations, building not just awareness but understanding and a spur for social change
“More and more people are talking openly and honestly about their mental health, from leading public figures like Prince Harry to families and friends across the country. On the Edge will help to bring about many more conversations, building not just awareness but understanding and a spur for social change.”