The garden’s overall design, carefully chosen plants and meaningful features represent the fear, strength, love and vulnerability families experience during diagnosis and treatment. The garden also highlights the strength of the human spirit, especially in children, which often shines through during intensely difficult times.
Ben is being helped by Julian and Andrea Darke who sadly lost their youngest daughter Megan to brain cancer in 2016 when she was only 11 years old. Ben met Andrea at BBC Gardeners’ World Live in 2018, when they were both exhibiting ‘Beautiful Borders’. “After a brief discussion with Julian and Andrea about their fundraising for Children with Cancer UK, I had the idea of creating a show garden on behalf of the charity at the next annual event in 2019,” commented Ben.
The Children with Cancer UK Strength of Humanity Garden is set within a mostly dark, subdued woodland with trees, underplanting and sculptures to represent some of the emotions associated with experiences of childhood cancer. The inner area is more colourful and joyful with an ‘End of Treatment Bell’ sculpture at its centre. The sculpture will be created by artist Tan Draig who has enlisted the help of Megan’s friends to complete it.
Messages of strength and hope from families who have been affected by childhood cancer and supporters of Children with Cancer UK have been woven into this bell. The garden also acknowledges in a tasteful way those children who sadly lost their lives to cancer with subtle features throughout.
Every day, an average of 12 families in the UK receive the devastating news that their child has cancer. Over 4,500 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK. The aim of the garden is to raise awareness of the crucial role the charity plays in developing kinder, less toxic treatments for children to save young lives and improve the quality of survival in children and young people. Andrea commented:
Children have a natural affinity to the outdoors and their love of nature is a joy to see. So, to showcase a garden that not only raises awareness of children with cancer and Children with Cancer UK’s efforts to improve and save lives, but also highlights the role a garden can have on our general wellbeing and healing process, is a great opportunity.
This garden is inspired by one such child. A little girl who was always able to find a smile no matter what she was faced with. Her parents have been instrumental in the creation of this garden and the overall message is one of courage, strength, hope and above all else, love.
Read Megan’s story: