Hot on the heels of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and continuing its year-long 175th anniversary celebrations, Perennial, the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping all horticulturists, is creating a Show Garden at Gardening Scotland in Edinburgh (30 May – 1 June 2014). Already announced as one of the winners of the show’s inaugural Artisan Garden Design Competition, The Perennial Garden has been designed to raise awareness of the important work the charity does in supporting everyone working in or retired from horticulture during times of crisis.
Designed and constructed by husband and wife team Amber Goudy and Martin Crowley, The Perennial Garden is a true family affair with at least four generations planning on coming to the show to help with the build. Amber says: “Both Martin’s and my family are in the horticulture trade and with this garden, everyone has been keen to get involved and make it happen. We have a special link with Perennial and are proud to be representing them at Gardening Scotland – we’re already chuffed to bits with our Artisan Garden Design award and now can’t wait to see the garden finished.”
For Amber and Martin, who live near Oban with their 12 year old and baby daughter, the inspiration for the design for the garden came from their own personal experience. When Martin was struck down with Guillaine-Barre syndrome, a rare auto-immune disease he was signed off work for three years. Barely able to walk, he could only watch as the family landscaping business, which he ran with his mother Morven, went under. When his mother came across Perennial’s stand at Gardening Scotland a few years ago, their luck began to turn around.
Martin comments: “I had never been out of work, but when I became ill it never even occurred to me that I would get more than two or three days’ sick pay. The Perennial caseworker was amazing and her input made all the difference in the world. She helped sort out my Disability Living Allowance and other benefits which I was entitled to. Without her help, we would have been destitute. Personally, I am delighted to be able to help celebrate the work of Perennial by creating this show garden and hope that the charity can continue to be there to help others who find themselves in difficulty.”
Laura Garnett, Volunteer Support Officer at Perennial, said: “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to highlight the work of Perennial at Gardening Scotland during our milestone anniversary year. Perennial helped more people than ever in Scotland last year and we have a full time caseworker covering Scotland. As Martin himself found, Perennial provides a lifeline to those who find themselves in dire straits. All of our work depends entirely on the generosity of our supporters and we have pledged to raise more funds than ever this year to help safeguard our services for those who most need them.”
Inspired by the arum lily that forms Perennial’s logo, the garden features two giant steel arum lilies constructed of recycled steel, towering over a rough landscape of slate shards. From the trumpet of one, water pours to symbolise the healing balm Perennial brings to troubled lives. The water flows through split slate paving, the cracks becoming narrower until it becomes smooth and perfect, representing Perennial helping to smooth the path ahead and piecing back together broken lives.
The back of the garden representing hardship is dramatic and chaotic, with spikey architectural planting, splashes of dramatic coloured flowers, and harsh jagged slate and rusted metal. Coming forward through the garden, the planting softens with paler colours and there is a tranquil place to sit under the smoothed and painted metal of the pergola, showing the more calm and contented life of someone who had benefitted from Perennial’s help.
As one of three winners of the Artisan Garden Design Competition, the team was awarded £2,000 in order to help fund the creation of the garden.
Gardening Scotland runs from 30 May to 1 June at the Royal Highland Centre Edinburgh. For full show information, visit: www.gardeningscotland.com
For further media information contact:
Clare Johnson | firstname.lastname@example.org | 07815 041635
Jennie Spears | email@example.com | 07944 552634
Perennial celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2014 and has set a target to raise £175,000 to go toward helping horticulturists in need. Established in 1839, The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Fund or Perennial as it is now known, helps everyone working in and retired from horticulture, including landscapers, gardeners, garden designers, green keepers, tree surgeons, groundsmen, seed and turf growers, those involved in intensive production horticulture, parks and gardens staff and many more, and their families during times of crisis. The charity provides a range of support to people experiencing hardship whether that is through debt, illness, disability or old age. In the current economic climate this help is needed more than it ever was; in 2013, Perennial helped over 1,200 people, over 85% of whom were still of working age.
Perennial relies on the generosity of the horticulture trade and the garden-loving public to continue to support horticulturists in need. Perennial is calling on everyone who cares about looking after the people that care for our green spaces to get involved by raising £175 for 175 this year. To find out more about the work of Perennial and ways to get involved with fundraising during 2014, please visit www.perennial.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the team on 0800 093 8510.