The Arthritis Research UK Garden
Chris Beardshaw created a design for The Arthritis Research UK Garden from a very personal perspective as Chris revealed that he has lived with a form of the disease since his early teens.
The purpose of the garden was to raise awareness of the charity’s work which offers support to over 10 million people in the UK living with the condition. Chris aimed to reflect the stages and emotions that people often experience when faced with a diagnosis of arthritis, from an initial lack of understanding and confusion, through to a point where they are informed about the disease and able to manage their pain.
The personal journey and emotions of someone with arthritis were represented across three key garden areas. The feelings of confusion experienced at the point of diagnosis were conveyed in the Veiled Garden - a shaded, woodland garden featuring a contemporary retreat and sculpture. A stepping stone pathway led to the Lucid Garden, an open and formal area, representing the wide-ranging information Arthritis Research UK provides to people with arthritis. The final section, the Radiant Garden, rich with exuberant and vibrant planting provided warmth, openness and confidence as the person with arthritis learns to manage their condition.
The journey is one that Chris Beardshaw strongly related to - “I was diagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis in my early teens and was told I would most likely be in a wheelchair at the age of 19 years old. So, not only do I have a very strong personal reason why I was so keen to work with Arthritis Research UK, but I wanted to create a garden that reflects the way people with arthritis feel about the disease and to translate those emotions into a sequence of vistas and a journey through the garden. Each stage in the garden provides a very specific purpose and the planting combinations and even individual plants, all have relevance. I want this garden to showcase what Arthritis Research UK represents and for people who visit the garden to learn about the journey that people with arthritis go on.”
Arthritis Research UK, Chief Executive, Dr Liam O’Toole said at the time: “This is such a unique opportunity for us to tell a story of the journey someone with arthritis goes on through garden design and we’re delighted that Chris is making this the focus of the garden. As a charity we are the biggest funder into the research into the cause, treatment and cure of all forms of arthritis in the UK. The garden will represent the knowledge and information we provide to change the lives of people with the condition and their carers.”
To find out more about Arthritis Research UK please visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org