We speak to Gareth Wilson about his mentorship of Mitchell Salthouse of Everest Garden Landscape, who is building The Covid Recovery Garden at the RHS Tatton Flower Show for garden designer Rachel Platt.
To set the scene, the garden is a dam designed for patients who are recovering from long COVID. When asked what he hoped visitors will take from the garden Gareth says: “Hospitals are not the best places to be, and so if visitors to our garden can get out bed, and find this lovely tranquil space, steer away from the sterile environments of a hospital, and be in a green space, we hope for them to relax and have something to look forward to seeing.”
Gareth commented on his friendship with Mitchell, something that has been flourishing throughout their years of work together. He says: “I’ve been helping Mitchell navigate all the extra tasks that are focused on the reality of how the garden is built and pulled together successfully. It’s been eye opening for him to see and understand the planning, organisation, and prep of the garden.”
Once of the challenges they faced when working on the garden was sourcing materials, especially materials coming from abroad. In order to solve this, Gareth sourced a lot of his materials from Britain and tried to “source locally as it lowers our carbon footprint”.
“We have tried to keep the garden as sustainable as possible as well – which is also a challenge. The garden has to be easy to relocate, and sourcing UK grown plants has been tricky too as we’re all doing the same thing.”
The concept for the Covid Recovery Garden was not chosen by Gareth or Mitchell, though. “This was the designer, Rachel Platt’s choice. It’s something very close to a lot of people’s hearts as COVID-19 affected everybody’s lives in one way or another. We’re all still recovering from COVID now; it really changed life. And, even if you haven’t had COVID, people are still recovering from the aftermath of it all.
“This garden will be a tranquil space where people who have been suffering from COVID can recuperate and get back to their normal selves – and hopefully help start to feel better.”
With a mentor like Gareth Wilson and a heart-warming concept by designer Rachel Platt, one can only imagine that Mitchell Salthouse will be a landscaper to watch.