RHS Ambassador and horticulturist Jamie Butterworth is designing his first RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden this spring (24-28 May), to promote the importance of children’s mental health. The beautifully-planted garden will offer a safe space where children can take time and talk.
The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden is being developed in partnership with leading children’s mental health charity Place2Be and sustainable investment manager Sarasin & Partners which adopts a ‘securing tomorrow’ approach to investing.
Situated on Royal Hospital Way, the Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden is a space that facilitates and stimulates conversation. It aims to be safe and peaceful, where children can feel calm and are able to talk, while also taking in the beauty of plants and being outside. This connection with plants and the natural world is something that has proven increasingly important for mental health and wellbeing over the past two years.
Clinical research shows 50% of people with a lifetime mental health issue first developed symptoms before the age of 14. The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden will use this space – and the platform of the world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show – to generate discussion and a better understanding of the importance of supporting and nurturing mental health from an early age.
Butterworth’s design has been developed with input from staff and pupils at Viking Primary School in Northolt, West London, which has been working in partnership with Place2Be for 12 years. Place2Be’s expert teams work in school communities across the UK, offering one-to-one and group support to help pupils to cope with life’s challenges.
Sarasin & Partners has been supporting the work of Place2Be for the past two years. Its philosophy of ‘securing tomorrow’ – which is a long-term thematic approach to investing prioritising environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors – resonates with the charity’s goal to secure children’s futures. After the Chelsea Flower Show, with support from Sarasin & Partners, the garden will be relocated within the Viking Primary School grounds.
The garden’s planting scheme will be lush and green, and will promote a feeling of safety and wellbeing, emphasising the vital connection that children need to have with plants, growing and nurturing the outside world. It will feature pops of blue and yellow, chosen by pupils at Viking Primary School, to add a splash of colour. The planting will be beautiful but durable, allowing the space to be used by children and carers, but also tough enough to deal with our ever changing climate. Trees, shrubs, perennials and ground cover plants will ensure that rainfall is slowed and flooding reduced; plants have been chosen to be able to stand some winter wet or summer drought as our climate alters; and all will grow well and thrive in an urban environment It will also incorporate structural elements created by local artisan craftspeople in Berkshire, using sustainable practices.
Jamie Butterworth, Managing Director of Form Plants and designer for the garden, said: “It’s so important to encourage children to engage with nature. Through my work in schools as an RHS Ambassador I’ve seen first-hand the positive difference to children’s lives. I hope the garden will inspire everyone to think about the importance of outdoor space, a sanctuary where we look after and nurture our mental wellbeing.
“That’s why I’m so delighted to create a garden which promotes children’s mental health, that will have a life beyond Chelsea, bringing a positive impact to the lives of primary school children who have no, or limited, outdoor space at home.”
Catherine Roche, CEO of Place2Be, added: “One in six children now has a diagnosable mental health issue, and many more are struggling with the challenges and uncertainties of life today. The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show offers a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the need to invest in children’s mental health. We are thrilled to be working with Sarasin & Partners and with the very talented Jamie Butterworth, who share our passion for the need to increase understanding of the vital importance of supporting wellbeing from an early age.”
Guy Matthews, CEO of Sarasin & Partners, said: “I am delighted Sarasin & Partners has taken the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful initiative. By supporting Jamie Butterworth and Place2Be in the creation of the Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden, we hope to highlight the importance of sustainability and securing a future for the planet and the next generation, especially as the children of Viking Primary School will be able to enjoy the garden for years to come. These aims are at the heart of what we do, combined with our heritage in charity investment and helping charities to achieve their long-term goals.”