Chelsea Flower Show arthritis garden revealed

Garden designer Chris Beardshaw will be telling a very personal story in the design of his show garden for Arthritis Research UK at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013, having lived with a form of the disease since his early teens.

Chelsea Flower Show garden will aim to raise awareness of Arthritis Research UK (image: Chris Beardshaw)
Chelsea Flower Show garden will aim to raise awareness of Arthritis Research UK (image: Chris Beardshaw)

The Arthritis Research UK Garden, which will be situated on the main avenue at the hospital end opposite the M&G garden, will raise awareness of the charity, which offers support to over 10 million people in the UK living with the condition.

Beardshaw will reflect the stages and emotions that people may often experience when faced with a diagnosis of arthritis, from an initial lack of understanding and confusion, through to a point where they are informed about the disease and able to manage their pain.

The personal journey and emotions experienced by someone with arthritis will be represented across three garden areas. It will begin with the confusion of diagnosis in the Veiled Garden, a shaded, woodland garden featuring a contemporary retreat and sculpture.

A stepping stone pathway leads to the Lucid Garden which is open and formal, representing the wide-range of information Arthritis Research UK provides to people with arthritis.

The final section, the Radiant Garden, moves the journey forward into a slightly sunken garden where exuberant, vibrant planting provides warmth, openness and confidence as the person with arthritis learns to manage their condition.

Beardshaw said: "I was diagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis in my early teens and was told I would most likely be in a wheelchair at the age of 19 years old. So, not only do I have a very strong personal reason why I was so keen to work with Arthritis Research UK, but I wanted to create a garden that reflects the way people with arthritis feel about the disease and to translate those emotions into a sequence of vistas and a journey through the garden.

"Each stage in the garden provides a very specific purpose and the planting combinations, and even individual plants, all have relevance. I want this garden to showcase what Arthritis Research UK represents and for people who visit the garden to learn about the journey that people with arthritis go on."  

Arthritis Research UK chief executive Liam O’Toole said: "We are thrilled Chris is designing the Arthritis Research UK garden and look forward to having a presence once again at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2013.

"This is such a unique opportunity for us to tell a story of the journey someone with arthritis goes on through garden design and we’re delighted that Chris is making this the focus of the garden.

"As a charity we are the biggest funder into the research into the cause, treatment and cure of all forms of arthritis in the UK. The garden will represent the knowledge and information we provide to change the lives of people with the condition and their carers."

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