You can’t fail to be drawn in to Tom Massey’s vibrant garden at RHS Hampton Court. The colourful planting is like a magnet, and who can resist a spiral path which leads to an oasis of calm.
Tom’s Sanctuary Garden – for the charity Perennial- is all about the emotional journey a person makes from crisis to safety. Perennial is the only charity dedicated to supporting everyone in the horticulture industry- and is therefore a cause close to my heart. I have made a living from horticulture for the last 25 years in one way or another. So a charity which helps the people I work with, is something I’m going to shout about.
Tom’s garden is a colour wheel, 18 metres in diameter. The changing palette poignantly symbolises the journey people face with difficulties such as illness, injury, poverty and debt. At its outer edge, the plants are hot colours, representing the chaos of being at crisis point. Following the winding gravel path, plants fade to calmer colours of blue and green. It’s a representation of what happens when Perennial steps in to offer a helping hand- guiding people from tough times to safety.
As you walk though the garden, the planting becomes taller and more immersive with the colour scheme moving to stimulating yellows and oranges, representing hope.
Achillea millefolium Terracotta, Helenium Mardi Gras and Geum Totally Tangerine are woven with grasses Molinia caerulea Poul Peterson and stipa to form the orange swathe. The yellow planting band includes Kniphofia Lemon Popsicle and varieties of helianthus and helenium.
Moving through the spiral of colours, you come to restful purples and blues. It has a calming influence after the whirlpool of emotions you feel as you walk though this garden. I found it hard not to cry.
Purple plants are Veronicastrum virginicum Fascination (above) Nepeta Six Hills Giant and Verbena bonariensis. Blue shades feature Agapanthus Navy Blue (below) Agastache Black Adder and Blue Fortune, and Centurea cyanus Blue Boy.
Tom’s design highlights the difference Perennial makes to thousands of horticulturalists each year. It’s humbling to read the case studies. Heartbreaking accidents leaving families in dire circumstances. Perennial – a charity many people may not have heard of before- helps with financial arrangements, navigating the benefits system and being there as emotion support. A lifeline for anyone in need.
Buy Products to support the charity at shop.perennial.org.uk
Get involved. Raise money at www.hortaid.org.uk
The garden was built by www.landformconsultants.co.uk
Plants supplied by www.hortusloci.co.uk
Stone bench www.londonstone.co.uk
More about RHS Hampton Court