Modern Slavery Garden

Juliet Sargeant Designs Show Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 to Highight the Existence of Modern Slavery in the UK & Effect Change

The Juliet Sargeant Designs show Garden is a celebration of the British Parliment passing the Modern Slavery Act  into law on 26 March 2015.

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However, this law is just the beginning. Ninety percent of actual change in circumstances is due to the actions of law enforcement and the general public. It is with this fact in mind that a group of like-minded individuals from all walks of life came together and created this garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Despite this law, statistics tell us there are an estimated 13,000 enslaved people in the UK currently, and more than 27 million people worldwide.  The aim of this garden is to raise public awareness of this issue. “Being involved in the RHS Chelsea Flower show affords us a wonderful opportunity to get the message into the living rooms of the great British public, build support and help end modern slavery” Mirabelle Galvin, Modern Slavery Garden Team Member.

The garden features a number of doors. First to meet the eye are bright, inviting doors surrounded by colourful planting schemes, used to illustrate the ordinary streets in which we live. Behind these doors, we glimpse a series of dark, imposing, locked doors, symbolising  the hidden ‘behind closed doors’ nature of modern slavery. 

Translucent planting separates the front of the garden from the darker inner space. Feathery fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and the stems of Verbascum and lupin (Lupinus) echo the vertical iron railings surrounding the garden. A ribbon of warm apricot and orange hues run around the perimeter of the garden and compliment the bright colours of the painted front doors. These ribbons include the brightly-coloured, cottage garden favourites, like Peony ‘Coral Sunset’ (Paeonia ‘Coral Sunset’) and Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’. Included are recently introduced varieties like Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ , launched at Chelsea in 2010, and Heuchera macrantha ‘Palace Purple’ , which debuted in 1983.

Juliet has also chosen to include static pauses in the planting with Coprosma ‘Lemon and Lime’ and Coprosma ‘Pina Colada’ These contrast with the more dramatic forms of Red hook sedge (Uncinia rub) and New Zealand wind grass (Amenanthele lessoniana). This is clearly a garden of contrasts, the bright, uplifting colours surrounded the black heart of the garden’s interior.

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