Wellbeing Garden to feature at RHS Garden Bridgewater

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced the design of a garden dedicated to the practice of therapeutic horticulture at its new garden in the North-West, RHS Garden Bridgewater.

The Wellbeing Garden was originally conceived by renowned landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith in his masterplan for Bridgewater and will be designed in-house by Horticultural Projects Manager Ben Brace CMLI.

As progress on the creation of the RHS’s fifth garden continues apace, this latest design will sit within the historic 11-acre Walled Garden, which is being brought back to life with the support of The Garfield Weston Foundation.

The new design is the result of over six month’s consultation with more than 20 organisations, including health and social care providers and charities working with people who have mental and physical health problems.

The Wellbeing Garden will feature three distinct spaces; reflective – planted with woodland glade plants such as birch and hazel; growing – including raised planters in which users will be encouraged to take over to grow and care for plants of their choosing and finally – a meeting and moving space, where shrubs and herbaceous borders planted with plants that evoke memory and past experience such as Dahlias and asters will be planted.

The provision of more solitary spaces will allow for contemplation by visitors who require greater seclusion. There will also be space for activities such as music, crafts, nature, yoga and meditation.

The Wellbeing Garden will sit alongside a Kitchen Garden designed by Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg; a Paradise Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith; a Learning Garden designed by students from Manchester Metropolitan University, and community teaching allotments.

Designer, Ben Brace, says he wants the Wellbeing Garden to be a place to nurture both mental and physical health and getting input from so many organisations and those who will use it was vital: “Our initial thoughts were that it may be difficult to cater for a wide range of conditions in a single garden, but the consultation showed us that people’s needs are essentially similar. We will create a sanctuary that offers space to grow, space to reflect and space to meet others and get moving,” he adds.

The RHS is currently fundraising to create RHS Garden Bridgewater, which will open in 2020. They need to raise £5.5m to create this new and imaginative resource for the North West.

You can find out more about RHS Garden Bridgewater by visiting: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/bridgewater

Photo credits: All images strictly ©RHS – aerial view drawing (centre) is by Tom Stuart-Smith.