As the statistics continue to highlight, spending time outdoors and connecting with others can boost mental wellbeing; themes that garden designer Andy Sturgeon drew upon for his design, The Mind Garden. It came as no surprise that the RHS multiple award winner should win Gold for this year’s design for partner charity, Mind. Andy Sturgeon explained, “Time in nature can transform how you feel. On a deep emotional level, gardens make people happy and they make people relax, you can see people behave differently when they are in that environment.”
Winning Best in Show, Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt’s, ‘A Rewilding British Landscape’ worked hard to make us reconsider what a shared garden landscape might look like when we work with nature to nourish and heal ecosystems. Features included a pool dammed by beavers, a beaver’s lodge, tree debris, native wildflowers and old timber walkway. The message was clear: it’s now up to us to consider ways in which we harness the power of plants in our own gardens on a multitude of interconnected levels.
There were twelve Sanctuary gardens in this year’s category and one of the stand outs and Gold medal winner was Tony Wood’s 'A Garden Sanctuary by Hamptons', which featured a carbon-neutral garden cabin with a shou-sugi-ban (charred wood) exterior. The garden was rich in pollinating plants and water for wildlife, with densely planted trees to encourage birds into the garden. Tony explained “This is an immersive space to encourage connection with the surrounding power of nature and plants. It’s all about taking a typical urban space and smothering it with nature.”
It goes without saying that our personal favourite was the Cirrus Garden, designed by Thrive ambassador, Jason Williams. His balcony combined the spectacle of a show garden with the reality of a sustainable garden focused on increasing biodiversity in an urban area. It featured wildflowers, perennials, herbs, a seating area, vegetable garden and fish pond to fertilise the garden, and was inspired by the colours of watching sunsets from his 18th floor balcony. Visitors were encouraged to look up to the Cirrus Garden as an example of how we could spruce up urban residences in the future. Accessibility is the name of the game!