Chelsea garden celebrates NHS Staff

A garden at the 2021 RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21st to 26th September) will celebrate the tireless work of NHS staff, as well as commemorating all key worker efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finding Our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden‘ is designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen for the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) and has been designed to mark the efforts of all staff who cared for people during the pandemic.

The garden came to fruition following conversations between Naomi and Professor John Frater, an Infectious Diseases consultant at the University of Oxford and OUH, following their collaboration on a previous garden in 2018.

An imposing timber canopy will represent the sharp descent into fear at the outset of the pandemic. Rills and pools of water throughout the garden will represent the collective efforts of those working together in the NHS and universities. The design will reflect connectedness and collaboration and will be planted with a warm palette of earthy apricot tones running through the planting.

John has witnessed first-hand the dedication and collaboration during the pandemic and suggested creating a tribute garden in honour of the incredible frontline staff of the NHS, scientists researching COVID treatments and vaccines and all the unsung heroes who have kept the country running in so many ways during this challenging time.

John said: “One of the main things that has resonated with me over the past 18 months is the sheer sense of teamwork and working together for a common cause – not just across the NHS, but with the University of Oxford too and all the research that went into develop the AstraZeneca vaccine.

By giving people a peaceful place, we hope that people will be able to reflect and take the time to acknowledge the significant team effort not just during the pandemic, but as we move forward.”

Naomi comments that it is an honour to be asked to design a garden as a tribute to the huge effort and teamwork from NHS staff and key workers during the pandemic: “We hope that everyone can enjoy the garden and that it will be a space to pause and reflect on the immense commitment from so many that has helped us through these unprecedented times,” she said.

Garden image: ©Naomi Ferrett-Cohen