Award winning Chelsea Flower Show garden to be moved to Kilburn
- Credit: Lia Colacicco
An entire award-winning Chelsea Flower Show garden, inspired by a young person’s journey with HIV, is being moved to a council estate in Kilburn.
The Life Without Walls garden, which won the silver gilt medal at the show, will be moved to behind Watling Gardens, where it’s hoped it will help people suffering from dementia.
It has been pulled back from the abyss by Mapesbury councillor Lia Colacicco, after it was due to be broken up.
It was only at a chance introduction that the Labour councillor met Prof Fidler, professor of HIV medicine at Imperial College.
Cllr Colacicco said: “I nearly bit her hand off! For years I have been wanting to create a dementia garden project.
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“During a dementia workshop run by charity Ashford place, I was touched by the strong desire of dementia sufferers to contribute to society. They spoke of being wrapped up in cotton wool by the people who love them, but as one man put it: ‘I’ve lost my memory, not my marbles.’”
The new garden, which will be on the estate in Exeter Road, will allow dementia sufferers to get involved with gardening on the site, while carers get chance to relax and talk to each other.
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Cllr Colacicco’s inspiration for the garden’s new purpose is one from close to home.
She said: “My father was a strong, active man who had dementia for nearly 15 years and I know he would’ve loved to work in a garden. My mother refused to go to any support groups but would have enjoyed this more informal coffee-and-chat arrangement.”
The garden is backed by CHERUB, which is a cooperative of the UK’s biomedical research centres.
It was thought up by Imperial College’s Dr Fidler and Prof John Frater from Oxford University.
It was designed to raise awareness of young people who have grown up living with the illness.
Prof Fidler said: “The garden was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and designed by Naomi Ferret Cohen. The Life Without Walls garden is a landmark project for, and about, people living with HIV.
“The garden centres on a young person living with HIV and the journey they face, exploring stigma and marginalisation.”
As well as the original garden being moved to Kilburn, one will be recreated at Oxford University.