Gardens of hope …….RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Report

Garden designers are shared their experiences of the riots last summer and bombing at Edgware road in 2005 at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, to demonstrate hope and how gardening can improve and empower communities.
A conceptual garden, ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’, has been inspired by Matthew Childs’ experiences after being injured in the 7 July bombing at Edgware Road in London. The theme is hope and recovery and the garden takes visitors on a journey from a traumatic start, with a narrow, dark opening in a dark, imposing wall, through to a lighter, more spacious planted area.
Matthew told The Landscaper “Seven years on and after the inquest last year I can finally talk about my experiences. My conceptual garden at Hampton is a narrative to share how the traumatic bombing affected me and changed my perspective on life, which is why I gave up my previous career in advertising and became a garden designer.
“The garden is about some of the positives that came out of such an awful experience. The garden lets me share the experience, including the help I’ve received from so many people at the time of the bombing and since. It demonstrates there is always light and hope. For me, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show marks the end of the chapter and a new start.”
Another conceptual garden, ‘Uprising’, was designed by Daniel Shea from Tottenham in response to the destruction caused by the riots last year. As the regeneration of affected areas gets underway, Daniel wanted to explore the benefits that horticulture and naturalistic planting can bring to urban environments, whilst also channelling negative energy into something positive.
A show feature, ‘Riot of Colour’, by the Edible Bus Stop Project, used a scene of disorder from the London riots to illustrate the benefits to a community of green space in an urban environment. This garden is part of a campaign to create an ‘edible London bus route’. The first Edible Bus Stop garden is on route 322 in Stockwell where local community groups have transformed a neglected area. ‘Riot of Colour’ communicates the distress of Will Sandy, designer of the garden and creative director of the Edible Bus Stop project, and Mak Gilchrist, co-founder of Edible Bus Stop project, after the riots in Camberwell and Stockwell. The show feature will be relocated to London Pleasure Gardens in the Olympic Valley after the show.

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