The Chelsea Barracks Garden, designed by Jo Thompson for the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show, was today unveiled as part of the official opening of the first phase of the Royal British Legion Industries’ (RBLI) Centenary Village. Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon, led proceedings at the new village in Aylesford, Kent, to mark the completion of the 24 apartments designed for injured veterans.
The contractor was Outdoor Bespoke.
The Chelsea Barracks Foundation has also sponsored veteran John Ahben to undertake training and gain formal horticulture qualifications, enabling him to carry out the ongoing maintenance for the garden in its new location. He said: "This course has given me a lifeline and an opportunity to have a second chance after my injury. Since beginning my apprenticeship, I have acquired new skills and developed a real passion for horticulture. It feels great knowing that I am working on such an important project. And on a personal level, I get to look out of my window every morning and feel a real sense of achievement."
The garden draws on the heritage of the Chelsea Barracks site in London, the former British Army barracks.
Thompson said: "It is always a joy to find a permanent home for a Chelsea Flower Show garden, particularly so when linked with an important charity. The Chelsea Barracks Garden is a traditional British rose garden, reimagined for the 21st century. I very much hope it will provide ex-service personnel with a beautiful place to enjoy, as well as offering the chance for residents to get involved with a range of activities to aid their recovery."