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Constructing Minds Garden at RHS Tatton: Raising Mental Health Awareness

The Constructing Minds Garden at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park is set to make a powerful statement about mental health in the construction industry. With alarming figures revealing the high number of suicides among construction workers, designers Carolyn Harden and Jon Jarvis have teamed up to create a garden that not only raises awareness but also promotes healing and well-being. Millboard, recognising the importance of this cause, has proudly offered its support to this remarkable project. Let's delve into the details of the Best in Show and Silver-Gilt Medal-winning garden and the impact it aims to make.

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Addressing Mental Health Challenges

The statistics surrounding mental health in the construction industry are deeply concerning. Last year alone, 700 construction workers tragically took their own lives, surpassing any other sector in the UK. To shed light on this issue, Carolyn Harden and Jon Jarvis have collaborated with health professionals to explore how gardens can play a vital role in aiding patient recovery and reducing stress and anxiety.


Transforming the Space

Securing the largest show garden at RHS Tatton, the duo embarked on a mission to create a garden that encapsulates refuge and enclosure. Spread across a 20m by 14m space at Tatton Park, the garden boasts a harmonious blend of trees, ferns, bamboos, and wildflower areas. Drawing inspiration from construction sites, materials such as concrete and scaffold boards were incorporated into the build, adding an authentic touch.

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We hope that visitors to the garden at the show will go away with a better appreciation of mental health and the impact of the stigma on people with mental health issues - Carolyn Hardern, Garden Designer

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An Unforgettable Blend of Nature and Design

The Constructing Minds Garden stands as a testament to the symbiotic relationship between nature and human creativity. It aims to challenge traditional notions of garden design and inspire visitors to reflect upon the transformative power of natural spaces.


A Journey of Healing and Reflection

As visitors enter the Constructing Minds Garden, they will pass through a rusted steel portico flanked by hawthorn hedges, symbolizing the threshold of hope and transformation. Along the gravel pathway, the Consultation Glade offers a private and therapeutic space for one-on-one counselling sessions with mental health first aiders.

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At the heart of this breathtaking installation lies the ‘Inner Sanctuary’ area of the garden. Notably, one wall incorporates a metal panel with 507 perforated number holes, representing the tragic number of suicides in 2021. This tranquil space, filled with pockets of wildflowers, is designed to provide a secure and private retreat. It's all about creating a place where individuals can find solace and peace amidst the challenges they face. With Millboard's Envello Golden Oak Board and Batten Cladding, providing a stunning backdrop, it’s beautiful appearance perfectly captures the essence of natural wood while offering unparalleled durability and longevity.


Restorative Benefits of Nature

Exiting the Inner Sanctuary, visitors are greeted by a captivating wildflower meadow surrounding light-canopied silver birches. Here, custom-made loungers encourage the practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing—a Japanese concept that believes spending time immersed in nature can provide rejuvenation and restorative benefits. Symbolizing remembrance and hope, students from Leeds College of Building will bring 700 painted hearts to the show, with some containing heartfelt messages from the families of those lost to suicide.

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A Haven of Tranquility

The Constructing Minds Garden goes beyond the boundaries of the flower show. After the event, the garden will be relocated to Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral, where it will serve as a place of tranquility for patients, visitors, and staff. Wheelchair-accessible and featuring ample seating options, the garden will offer respite and promote well-being. This gesture showcases the long-lasting impact of the Constructing Minds Garden, transforming it into a sanctuary where nature can uplift spirits and provide solace during challenging times.


Supporting a Collective Effort

Creating the Constructing Minds Garden comes with a cost of approximately £40,000. Carolyn Harden and Jon Jarvis have welcomed support from companies within the industry, including Millboard. Sponsoring individual elements of the garden and contributing goods, these companies highlight the importance of solidarity in tackling mental health challenges. Volunteers also play a vital role in bringing this garden to life, demonstrating that change can be accomplished through collective effort.

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The Constructing Minds Garden at RHS Tatton, is set to make a profound impact by raising awareness of mental health challenges in the construction industry. Through the powerful symbolism and healing elements woven into the garden's design, Carolyn Harden and Jon Jarvis aim to provide solace, promote well-being, and spark conversations about mental health. The garden's relocation to Clatterbridge Hospital ensures that its legacy continues, becoming a haven of tranquility for patients, visitors, and staff. Let's unite in supporting this incredible endeavor, making a difference in the lives of those affected by mental health issues in the construction industry and beyond.

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