Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Furzey Gardens recreates its award-winning Chelsea garden

A show garden developed by a team with learning disabilities, which won a gold medal at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, has been recreated and launched by TV gardener, Chris Beardshaw.

Beardshaw led the team from Furzey Gardens and the Minstead Training Trust, which provides services to people with learning disabilities, to success last year and recently returned to officially open the ‘Chelsea Garden’ in front of a range of learning disability organisations and hundreds of invited guests, students, staff and volunteers. Each person was given a gold coloured item to hold aloft at the moment of opening, creating a field of gold.

The Chelsea Garden now takes pride of place in the grounds of the Furzey Gardens, set in acres of woodland in Minstead, near Lyndhurst in the New Forest. The aim of the Chelsea Project was to show how much people with learning disabilities can achieve with appropriate support. Students inspired the design and were encouraged to express, through speech and art, what they love about the gardens and what they think it is that makes Furzey Gardens such a special place.

Essence of Furzey Gardens

“Our aim was to capture the unique essence of Furzey Gardens which would engender the same feeling of peace and tranquillity that envelops visitors as they wander round the paths and secret corners of this special garden,” said Beardshaw. “The Chelsea Garden has come home.”

The Minstead Training Project, the sister charity to Furzey Gardens, was founded in 1986 and offers year-round services in residential and day care and training in work, life and social skills to adults with learning disabilities.

Chairman of trustees, Reverend Tim Selwood, explained the importance of the legacy of the Chelsea Flower Show: “Our students and staff took an important part of their lives to the show and I am delighted that we are now able to continue the growing and nurturing process by recreating their success within the tranquil setting of Furzey Gardens.”

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