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Juliet Sargeant designs show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

by | 15 Jan 16 | News

Juliet Sargeant will be designing a show garden called the Modern Slavery Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

The garden is a celebration of the British Parliament passing the Modern Slavery Act which became law on March 26, 2015.

Ninety per cent of actual change in circumstances is as a result of law enforcement and the general public so it’s with this thought in mind that a committee of like-minded individuals from all walks of life came together with the idea to do a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The aim of the garden is to raise public awareness of the issue as there are an estimated 13,000 slaves living in the UK and more than 27 million people worldwide.

Mirabelle Galvin, Modern Slavery Garden committee member said: “Being involved in the RHS Chelsea Flower show affords us a wonderful opportunity to of get the message into the living rooms of the great British public, build support and end modern slavery.”

The garden displays a series of dark imposing locked doors which is symbolic. Modern slavery is hidden behind closed doors. The bright front to the doors and colourful planting illustrate the ordinary streets where we live. The darker centre to the garden hints at a hidden reality; people still being kept in captivity and forced to work, in every part of the UK today.

Hope is represented by the English oak tree and it was under such an oak that William Wilberforce stood when he dedicated his life to ending slavery in 1787. The garden uses the metaphor of a solid, dependable and faithful oak and this theme threads through the story of the garden and ends with the open oak doors leading to a path of freedom. Small oak seedlings around the base of the tree serve as a reminder of the work that is still to be done, if we are all to be free in the twenty-first century.

Translucent planting separates the front of the garden from the darker inner space. Feathery fennel and the stems of verbascums and lupins echo the vertical iron railings surrounding the garden. A ribbon of warm apricot and orange hues runs around all four sides of the garden and contrasts with the bright colours that reflect each of the painted front doors. Cottage garden favourites, such as peony ‘Coral Sunset’ and anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’ create a feast for the eyes. Whilst, some more modern varieties will feature, like the fabulous Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ launched at Chelsea Flower Show a couple of years ago and Heuchera macrantha ‘Palace Purple’ which was launched in the 90’s.

Juliet has also chosen to include static pauses in the planting with the rare shrubs coprosma Lemon & lime and coprosma ‘Pina Colada’ and these contrast with the more dynamic forms of uncinia rubra and amenanthele. It will be an uplifting and bright array of colours, seen against the black backdrop of the garden’s interior.

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