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The concept for the Mind’s Eye Garden is the brainchild of designer Tom Prince, who makes his Chelsea debut this year alongside talented landscape architect Alex Frazier. Together with the wider LDC design team, the young design duo (both aged 28) have worked closely with RNIB to ensure the garden is inspired by and reflects the experiences of sight loss by using textures, sounds, tastes and smells to stimulate all the senses. As a result, the garden can be enjoyed equally by blind and partially sighted people as well as those who can see.
Tom Prince said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Mind’s Eye Garden has been awarded the People’s Choice Award and this is the icing on the cake after also receiving a Gold and Best Fresh Garden award. This is our first time at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and after months of hard work, to know that both the judges and the general public loved the garden is a fantastic feeling.”
Karen Deacon, Director of Education and Social Care, RNIB, said: "We are thrilled to have received the People's Choice Award for our garden and have been extremely touched by the lovely comments we've had throughout the entire week. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote and congratulate everyone who has been involved in the development of the garden, especially our exceptionally talented designers Tom and Alex from LDC as well as our sponsors Countryside who have made the whole project possible."
Graham Cherry, Chief Executive of Countryside comments: “We are delighted to have received the People’s Choice Award against some very tough competition. The garden really does look fantastic, and it has enabled us to establish key design features for the sensory trail and gardens which are planned for the RNIB Community Living Service development at Redhill. The garden is a credit to the team and I would like to congratulate everyone involved on their magnificent efforts. 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 earlier in the week and showed their support for RNIB, while sampling a special fennel, mint and thyme flavoured ice cream inspired by the aromatic herbs and vegetables 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.
Information correct at time of publication.