Planting details revealed for Modern Slavery Garden at Chelsea

The borders of Juliet Sargeant's Modern Slavery Garden, in the 'Fresh' section at Chelsea 2016, will feature bright pops of orange and apricot to contrast with its dark interior.

The Modern Slavery Garden. Image: Supplied
The Modern Slavery Garden. Image: Supplied

The garden displays a series of dark imposing locked doors which is symbolic of how modern slavery is hidden away. 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.

Bringing that message into the public eye is the whole point of the garden, explained team member Mirabelle Galvin: "Being involved in the RHS Chelsea Flower show affords us a wonderful opportunity to get the message into the living rooms of the great British public, build support and help end modern slavery." 

Planting will separate 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 the peony 'Coral Sunset' and Anthriscus 'Ravenswing' create a feast for the eyes, while more modern varieties will feature including Geum 'Totally Tangerine', launched at Chelsea Flower Show a couple of years ago and Heuchera macrantha 'Palace Purple' which was launched in the 1990's.

Sargeant has also included static pauses in the planting with the exotic Coprosma 'Lemon & Lime' and C. 'Pina Colada' contrasting with the more dynamic forms of Uncinia rubra and Anemanthele.

Hope is represented by the English oak tree. 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 still to be done.

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