‘Skin Deep’ Chelsea Space to Grow Garden

Gold-medal winning garden designer Robert Barker will create a horticultural and sculptural tribute to our skin at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with his conceptual garden design ‘Skin Deep’ featured in the Space to Grow category.

The garden comes from a collaboration with the renowned Harley Street Skin Clinic and pays tribute to our largest organ – our skin, our own unique brand, which signals clues to our genetic heritage, age and health.

The design features concrete blocks representing different human faces and skin conditions, each one illustrative of a different condition that could affect any of us over a lifetime. The outer layer reflects our life story and reveals to the world our joys, stresses and worries in the form of everything from birthmarks to wrinkles. It is a window to our genetic past, a concept echoed in the garden’s textural planting scheme.

Chosen for their form and texture to reflect different skin conditions, planting will include Boehmeria plantanifolia and Astilboides tabularis, and beautiful ferns and grasses, representing an aspect of human skin, its beauty and diversity and the ailments that can befall it.

The garden has been inspired by the work of Harley Street Skin clinic founded by Dr Aamer Khan and Lesley Reynolds – skin and anti-ageing experts. Dr Khan is renowned for his cosmetic artistry and pioneering work with injured servicemen and women, while Lesley, author the bestselling ‘Look Younger for Longer’ and a regular guest on This Morning and Lorraine, has been a tour-de-force in the skincare world for decades.

Lesley points out that they asked designer Robert to capture the intense connection our skin has with our life story: “Incredibly, he has found a way to translate this into an inspired horticultural and landscaping show garden,” she says.

Robert came to garden design after a career in music as a singer/songwriter studying with the RHS, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Capel Manor College. He fell in love with garden design after a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2010 and knew instantly that he wanted to change direction in life.

He was awarded a Gold Medal for his first show garden ‘The Red Thread‘ at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2016. He is a modernist designer but certainly not minimalist. For Robert, the design process is about bringing passion together for plants, people and nature.

The main sponsor for ‘Skin Deep’ is Harley Street Skin Clinic with additional sponsorship from Vaughan Designs, Chiltern GRC and London Stone.

You can read more about the garden and follow Robert’s blog as he leads up to RHS Chelsea 2018, by visiting: https://www.skindeepgarden.co.uk

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