Greenfingers is a national charity dedicated to creating gardens for life-limited children and their families who spend time in hospices throughout the UK. Since the charity started 20 years ago, 55 gardens have been created. A further four will become a reality this year there are more in the planning stages. Without fund raising none of these wonderful spaces for life limited children and their families would exist. The Charity hopes that their presence at the Chelsea Flower Show will raise awareness of their work and in turn generate funds to build many more gardens for the future. The Greenfingers Charity Garden has been made possible thanks to a generous donation by a private benefactor.
Designer Kate Gould’s garden for Greenfingers Charity aims to create a stimulating environment for seriously sick children and their families. The plant colour palate is fresh, predominately green and white with flashes of yellow. The hard landscaping and even the plant content had to be thought through very carefully with access for wheelchairs a high priority, so nothing spiky on pathways that would scratch limbs or puncture tyres, furniture and sculpture elements have to be comfortable and accessible, stimulating and interactive wherever possible.
The lower pathway is made from expanded mesh which will have lots of lush green planting beneath it. The walkway transverses over 60cm and over a distance of 12m, it’s 1.4m wide in order to make it wheelchair friendly. The upper walk way structure is made of DesignBoard which is being supplied by London Stone, a durable composite decking.
Every good garden has a water feature of some sort and The Greenfingers Charity Garden is no exception. The water feature that Kate has designed for the garden will be an upright wall with powder coated metal hands scattered on the front. As water travels down the wall and passes over a weight on the back of the hands the hands will move and seemingly wave.
The garden is set on two levels and the mode of transportation from lower to upper level will be by lift, in this case no ordinary lift. It will be combining a DDA compliant lift and an innovative water lift design to create a hybrid between the two.
Water is held in troughs, displacement of the water in these troughs up and down a pulley system, which in turn operate the lift. The lift will be 1100cm x 1400cm on the base platform to allow a wheelchair user, a carer or family member to stand with them. The lift will be constructed out of powder coated metal to match the rest of the structure. The challenges of building this structure will be making it look as elegant as possible while maintaining its functionality and for that to blend into the garden seamlessly.
Garden art is a popular addition and what better way to stimulate children than by incorporating interesting wire work fruit sculptures by Artist Emma Stothard. Linum Loom have donated a novel apple swing seat.
Landscapeplus are donating lighting to make the garden as usable as possible in the real world. Kate has worked in conjunction with the team to create a series of interactive fibreoptic light shapes, a leaf, a cloud and others which will be activated by a series of buttons to engage the children
A fun cargo net donated by South West Play will hang on the upper deck for kids to relax in, take in the view and watch what is going on in the garden below from a height advantage! Kate has chosen matching fabrics in vibrant prints, plain and geometric patterns to add a sense of fun and compliment the scheme, these will be turned into a selection of bespoke cushions and beanbags by the Outdoor Cushion Company.
The colourful glazed bricks by Ibstock will be seen on the back wall and part of the sloped walkway on the lower level. They are there to create interest and bounce the light around as the glazing creates a superb reflective surface.