Charity heads to Tatton Park

Tatton Park
John Everiss on the Chelsea garden

Cotswold-based charity Meningitis Now is taking its award-winning garden to the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, which opens today.

‘Believe and Achieve’, designed by John Everiss, won silver-gilt and the coveted People’s Choice Award at Chelsea this year.

The garden, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of Meningitis Now, has been adapted for the Tatton show and at less than 20sq metres is classed as a show feature so will not be judged.

“The intention is to give a flavour of the original garden and a backdrop to the Chelsea sculptures that had such an effect on the visitors,” explains John.

For Tatton, the garden will have a yew hedge rather than the Cotswold stone folly at the back and the Cotswold stone walls are replaced by reclaimed railway sleepers.

Either side of these ‘walls’ will be wild flower turf with splashes of orange – the charity’s colour – provided by orange poppy ‘Champagne Bubbles’. In the gravel path there will be Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ and Achillea ‘Inca Gold’

What hasn’t changed are the striking laminated wood sculptures created using 3D images of young meningitis sufferers.

“The sculptures travel across the garden, hitting or passing through walls, reaching up for help and encouraging each other to overcome the obstacles brought about by the disease,” explains John.

“Four are meningitis survivors; the fifth depicts one of the many lives lost to meningitis.

“The garden celebrates the courage, determination and positive outlook of these young people and their families who have faced up to the consequences of this devastating disease.”

One of the youngsters, Liam Doyle, aged six, was too ill to visit the Chelsea garden but will be at Tatton Park, along with Jacob Gray, 24, who had to have his legs amputated when he contracted meningitis in 2013.

The Stroud charity, which funds research into vaccines and prevention, is hoping the trip north will raise its profile still further and make people aware of the symptoms of meningitis. The garden has been sponsored by Blackpool firm Laila’s Fine Foods.

“I love the idea of bringing something back from Chelsea to the North, as I am now an honorary northerner,” says John. “If it can have some of the impact it had in May for the charity, as they say up here, I will be well chuffed!”

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park runs from July 20 to 24. For more details, see here

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