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The Mind’s Eye Garden was designed by two young landscape designers, Tom Prince and Alex Frazier from LDC, who made their Chelsea debut this year. The garden is a modern, multi-sensory garden inspired by and reflecting the experiences of sight loss by using textures, sounds, tastes and smells to stimulate all the senses.
One of the designers, Tom Prince said: “We are thrilled and somewhat shocked to receive a Gold Medal and be named the best in our category, especially as this is the first time that Alex and I have been involved with a garden at Chelsea. After months of hard work bringing the garden together, we couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”
Karen Deacon, Director of Education and Social Care, RNIB, said: "We are thrilled to have received such accolades for our garden which we feel represents everything RNIB stands for. This is a well deserved award for everyone involved. RNIB would like to congratulate the garden's designers Tom Prince and Alex Frazier from LDC and thank Countryside for their help and endeavour in creating this garden."
Graham Cherry, Chief Executive of Countryside comments: “We are delighted that the RHS judges honoured us with the Best Fresh Garden award against some very tough competition. The garden really does look fabulous and it is a credit to the team effort of everyone involved. Our partnership with RNIB has given us insight into the valuable work the charity does and we are pleased that our sponsorship has allowed them to share this on the world stage at Chelsea Flower Show.”
A host of celebrities including Jerry Hall, Brendan Cole, Jennifer Saunders and Anna Maxwell Martin visited the Mind’s Eye Garden on Press Day and showed their support for RNIB, while sampling a special fennel, mint and thyme flavoured ice cream inspired by the aromatic herbs from the garden.
The semi-walled garden, named after the human ability to visualise scenes and images without the need for sight, takes inspiration from an Islamic walled garden and the artwork of Ben Nicholson and Piet Mondrian. It features an impressive glass cube water feature, a raised walkway and vertical planting including an edible wall.
The garden was inspired by a joint scheme between Countryside and RNIB to redevelop the existing RNIB Community Living Service facilities at Redhill, Surrey. Currently in planning, this innovative scheme will produce a model for integrated supported living, which will be unique in the UK and will provide an environment to benefit the whole community. Properties for RNIB residents will be built amongst houses available for private sale, to ensure an integrated and vibrant community and there will be a wide range of community facilities. After the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, elements from the Mind's Eye garden will be used within a sensory trail throughout the Redhill re-development which will form a key part of RNIB's educational programme.
The garden was built and managed by Dave Fountain Designs and Pulham Garden Crafts, and the illuminated floor artwork was by Ben Rousseau of www.rousseau.co.uk.
For further information about The Mind’s Eye Garden please visit www.rnib.org.uk.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 20-24 May and is televised throughout the week on the BBC.
Information correct at time of publication.