Forest Bathing Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024
Funding for the garden
The garden will be fully funded by Project Giving Back (PGB). Project Giving Back (PGB) is a unique grant-making charity that provides funding for gardens for good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. PGB was launched in May 2021 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on UK charitable fundraising - effects that have since been exacerbated by the cost of living crisis. PGB will fund a total of 15 gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2024 and intends to fund up to 60 gardens at the show from 2022 - 2026. PGB was established with funding from two private anonymous philanthropists who are RHS Life Members and keen gardeners.
Who is designing the garden?
Our garden has been designed by award winning designer, Ula Maria. Ula won the prestigious RHS Young Designer of the Year in 2017 but this is her first time at Chelsea. She seeks to create meaningful designs by a sensitive approach to an existing space. Her particular interest is in creating emotive garden spaces that evoke innate connections to nature through memories, senses, and experiences.
How does the garden reflect our community?
Ula’s concept for the our garden was inspired by hearing stories from our community. Many of you spoke of facing that initial diagnosis, often returning to sit in your cars or outside the hospital and wondering how your life might change. Ula re-imagined this devastating time and set out to design a garden that provided a sheltered space where our community can feel safe by reconnecting with nature.
Our garden will become a much needed place of solace and reflection for those affected by a muscle wasting condition. It seeks to showcase how an immersive, yet accessible garden can offer a place of refuge to patients, their families, and clinicians at the time of diagnosis and beyond.
The design of the garden is inspired by forest bathing, otherwise known as Shinrin-yoku, an ancient Japanese practice of spending time in the forest and soaking up its atmosphere through the senses. The garden seeks to awaken imagination and innate connection to nature by bridging a gap between us and the natural world.
What will the garden look like?
A large random knapped flint wall has been chosen for its beautiful texture and form – reminiscent of muscle cells – which serves as a tool for explaining what Muscular Dystrophy is, and the devastating effect it can have on one’s muscles. The planting is inspired by a birch grove, with more than 50 birch trees enveloping the garden and creating a forest-like atmosphere. The birch trees are under-planted with woodland edge style plants, varying from deep shade corners to more open, sunnier woodland glades. The majority of the plants have been selected for their foliage, creating a green tapestry, rich in texture, with an occasional burst of colour. At the core of the garden is a central hub with sculptural flint walls, that provides a sheltered space for people to meet and share their experiences outside the clinical environment, mirroring the emotional and practical support that we as a charity give our community at a time of need.
How can I be involved?
There are a number of ways that you can be involved but please check back for further information between now and May.
- Love gardening? Wish you could have a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show? Why not create your own show garden as part of our Open Gardens campaign. Click to find out more.
- Buy a ticket to the Show.
- Enter our prize draw to win two pairs of tickets – launching in 2024
- Volunteer – there will be a limited number of volunteer roles to help throughout show week. More details will be shared in 2024
- Watch coverage on the BBC during show week and share our updates on your own social media channels