Juliet Sargeant's Modern Slavery Garden launches

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Modern Slavery Garden has launched at Daylesford in London.

Former Society of Garden Designers chair Juliet Sargeant is designing the Fresh garden, which celebrates the day in spring 2015 when the British parliament took the lead and passed The Modern Slavery Act. The garden also looks forward, to a day when there are no slaves.

The bright front doors and colourful planting illustrate ordinary streets. But there is a darker centre to the garden, which hints at a hidden reality: people are still being kept in captivity and forced to work, in every part of the UK today. According to the US government's Trafficking in Persons Report there are 27 million slaves worldwide.

Hope is depicted in the form of an English oak tree; it was under such an oak that William Wilberforce stood when he dedicated his life to ending slavery in the 1800s. The metaphor of a solid, dependable and faithful oak threads through the story of the garden, which ends with open doors leading to the path of freedom.

Sargent said the tree is from Barcham, 200 irises are being grown by Sue Marshall of Iris of Sissinghurst and she is working with Peter Dowle to complete the garden, her first at Chelsea.

Anti Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland said Chelsea was an apt place for the garden campaign because Kensington and Chelsea was a hotbed of people trafficking, and described torture of modern slaves forced to work in the area. 

Beth Redman of the A21 campaign described similar plights of trafficked people.

Anti slavery campaigners such as Baroness Cox, the Bishop of London, Charlie Blythe, George Haddo, James Ewins, Pip Goring, Lady Reading, Lady March and Sam Lawson Johnson are on the garden's committee.

Charities involved are A21, Salvation Army, Hope and Justice, Justice and Care, City Hearts, IJM, Polaris and Stop the Traffik.

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