Chelsea Flower Show garden design shows how we can work together to beat ‘family monsters’
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Personal problems often seem to grow like weeds, but they can be pruned back and kept under control when families talk and work together.
That's the underlying message behind a display garden being prepared for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show at the Escape community allotment at Tumbler Hill in Swaffham.
Saffron Walden-based landscape designer Alistair Bayford is leading the way on the 'Family Monsters'-themed garden, which will become Family Action's entry at the May 21-25 show.
Mr Bayford, 36, said the garden was designed to 'get people talking' about everyday issues families face.
He said: 'We all have a problem, big or small, be it financial issues, health or bereavement. But when we talk about these problems they can be tamed.'
The garden has boulders on the outside, which symbolise family problems, reducing in size to pebbles in the central area, where there's a bench for families to come together.
He said the garden would be asymmetrical because: 'Problems look different from different angles, to different people.'
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Mr Bayford said the garden would include pioneer trees including birch and hazel - representing the younger generation - as well as a willow sculpture, which would be one of the garden's main features. There will also be a large, gnarly pine tree to symbolise an older member of a family, showing scars of life.
A mixture of native and non-native plant species will represent the diversity of families in the display, and there will be a clear-water pool, representing reflection.
Mr Bayford said: 'To many people this will just be a garden, but if you start taking it apart, it's apparent there's a lot of symbolism and meaning.
'It also aims to show how important horticulture and gardening can be for health and well-being.'
The Escape team is also involved in creating the garden, which marks the 150 anniversary of Family Action and the 100th anniversary of green service provider Idverde.
Escape itself aims to increase the self-esteem, independence and wellbeing of local people experiencing isolation, or who have disabilities or mental health conditions.
To find out more about the Family Monsters project, visit www.familymonstersproject.com