The designers of a garden to be unveiled at this year’s RHS Flower Show are appealing for help from merchants in a bid to complete the project which seeks to raise awareness of the mental health crisis in the construction industry.
The landscape designer team, Carolyn Hardern and Jon Jarvis, is hopeing that the Constructing Minds garden will be one of the main attractions at the prestigious horticultural event in Cheshire this July. The pair are asking the industry to get behind the project, which aims to take the mental health crisis message to new audiences.
They aim to create a garden that incorporates materials from a construction site to highlight the role that green spaces play in positive mental health and wellbeing, and have teamed up with construction charity Band of Builders to garner support.
Hardern and Jarvis want to raise awareness of how construction has the highest suicide rate of all industries, where an average of two workers take their own lives each working day.
“Research shows that regular access to green spaces can benefit mental health, and we have designed a calming space that we hope may help support those in suicidal crisis,” they said.
“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.
“This prejudice or lack of understanding can make it difficult for individuals to seek help. Mental health should be talked about more openly within the construction industry and be much more of a priority. We also want people to appreciate the positive benefits that green spaces can provide.”
To realise their vision for the garden, the duo are appealing for support and help from companies in the construction industry to sponsor areas of the garden. Talasey has already pledged its support.
The five-day show (19 to 23 July) will be bringing together the best in gardening and horticulture – and the Constructing Minds garden will be a 20m x 14m space with trees, ferns, bamboo and wildflower areas to create an overall sense of enclosure and refuge.
It will feature recycled materials found on construction sites, such as concrete and scaffold boards. The garden is fully accessible by wheelchair, and there are plenty of seating options. A small stream flows through the garden, which includes over 40 trees/shrubs and 800 ferns.
Hardern and Jarvis have been designing gardens and landscapes in all shapes and sizes over many years, and have won many awards and commendations. They have talked to health professionals about how gardens can help patients heal, and Jarvis himself is a mental health first aider. He also works as a Contract Manager at the landscaping company Ashlea Ltd, which is providing in-kind support for the project.
In total the garden is costing in the region £40,000, and Hardern and Jarvis have been asking other companies in the industry if they might like to get involved, particularly by sponsoring individual elements of the garden. They also welcome donated goods and are depending upon volunteers to help build their garden. Any donated monies left over will go equally to construction industry charities Band of Builders and Mates in Mind.