|Hope on the Horizon, in support of Help for Heroes, scooped the People's Choice award at Chelsea 2014|
As Chelsea Flower Show draws to a close for the 101st year, visitors from all over the world have had a chance to see show gardens that most of us can only dream about, wonderful horticultural products that we want to take home and plants that we long to have in our own gardens. There were few surprises this year on the medal stakes, and as always the big names were there, alongside several newcomers. But it was the Hope on the Horizon garden, designed by Matt Keightley that captured the public heart and won the BBC/RHS People's Choice Award.
|The Help for Heroes garden by Matthew Keightley, one of the youngest designers at Chelsea this year|
Designer Matthew Keightley is just 29 years old and this was his first show garden. It was designed as a contemplative garden for Help for Heroes, the charity that supports those soldiers who have sustained injuries and longer-term illness after serving in Afghanistan, together with their families. The charity was founded by Bryn and Emma Parry in 2007 and today H4H has a network of recovery centres for veterans nationwide. Matthew was well-equipped to understand many of the issues facing recovering veterans because his own brother served with the RAF in Afghanistan.
|Granite blocks representing strength were offset by predominantly blue and white planting|
The H4H garden at Chelsea was arranged along two clearly defined axes representing the Military Cross, emphasised by an avenue of hornbeams, and with both planting and landscaping designed to emphasise the various stages of the road to recovery. Granite blocks representing strength were key to the design while the planting, in a predominantly white and blue palette, emphasised the concept of physical well-being.
|The Help for Heroes garden will be reinstated at one of its recovery centres in Essex|
Another highly unusual feature of this garden is that when the show finishes, it will be relocated to newly landscaped grounds at Chavasse VC House in Colchester - a recovery centre run by Help for Heroes. I certainly hope the occupants there enjoy this garden as much as we all did at Chelsea this year.
To see all the Show Gardens at Chelsea 2014, click here.