Award winning garden designer, Matthew Childs, has partnered with charity, Over the Wall and Takeda UK to create an inspirational garden for the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show (site HC340), which symbolises new possibilities for children and families with serious illness, to help increase understanding of what it is like to live with or care for someone with a rare or serious illness or disability.
With 1 in 10 children1 in the UK living with a serious illness and 100,000 children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, the garden aims to take visitors on a journey, asking them to step over the wall to discover a world of new possibilities.
Chronic health conditions affect 10-30% of children – these numbers will rise by at least 11% by 2030.2 In fact, 1 in 17 people in the UK will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their lifetime. This amounts to 3.5 million people.3 The hope is that the positivity, uplifting experiences, and drive to make people’s lives better that is spread by Over The Wall and Takeda and felt by the children living with a series illness and their families, is echoed in the garden – told through the plants, colour, atmosphere and story written within.
“We are committed to raising awareness of the challenges that children living with rare and serious illnesses and their families face and are really proud to have worked with Over The Wall Children’s Charity, one of our longterm charity partners, and Matthew Childs to make this garden a reality,” said Lisa Timothy, UK External Affairs Director at Takeda. “With the number of children with chronic health conditions raising each year, it is important to increase awareness and provide a positive voice. By supporting the initiation and design of this garden we hope to increase understanding of what it’s like to live with a rare or serious illness and to inspire hope for a brighter future.”
The circular garden invites visitors to literally step ‘over the wall’ and enter an uplifting, joyful space where a winding path leads to a sunrise opening which symbolises new possibilities. On the way visitors pass vivid planting which references the colours of Over The Wall’s Brilliance Beads (awarded to children who attend their camps) – orange for support, green for courage, purple for fun, yellow for positivity, pink for creativity and blue for teamwork – and elements of Japanese aesthetic representing Takeda’s Japanese heritage. Linking to this, the garden will be unveiled to the uplifting beats of Japanese drummers, at the press opening on Monday 4th July, whilst a Calligrapher is on hand to capture inspirational messages during the festival on Thursday and Saturday.
“As a charity we champion the voices of these children and their families, and we encourage them to reach beyond the boundaries of their illness to discover a world of possibilities and it is this idea of exploring and discovering new possibilities which is the inspiration for this garden. Children living with serious illnesses often face stigma and isolation and through improving understanding, the garden aims to draw attention to the work we do at our residential and virtual camps which allow campers to discover a world of mischief, magic and new possibilities. We support children and their families to thrive not just survive and this garden is the perfect expression of that,” said Over The Wall CEO, Kevin Mathieson.
The garden has been designed by Matthew Childs Design, an award-winning garden design studio with a diverse range of exciting landscapes both in the UK and internationally. Matthew commented, “our studio believes in the power of gardens to have huge benefits for mental and physical wellbeing and the starting point for all our projects is the ethos that ‘Gardens are for people’ coined by landscape architect Thomas Church. With the needs, aspirations, and enjoyment of people at the heart of our landscape designs we have seen first-hand how people then protect, nurture and maintain that landscape. We’ve been inspired by the children and families supported by Over The Wall and Takeda, and hope the garden helps bring awareness, and champions their voices.”
Read more about this very special garden here