25 May 2010

The Children's Society has won a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the third year running.

Designer Mark Gregory, who also designed the charity's previous gold medal winning exhibits, celebrated his third successive gold, saying "I am absolutely over the moon; it's an incredible achievement for everybody involved. To come to the most prestigious flower show in the world and win gold three years in a row is an unbelievable feeling".

Mark took his inspiration for the garden from the groundbreaking Well-being survey published by The Children's Society in January. It asked 7,000 young people what made them happiest. The answer was their friends, family - and having freedom and choice in their lives and futures. Their local area was one of the things that made them least happy.

To reflect those findings Mark set out to create the ideal space that young teenagers would be happy to spend time with their family and friends and relax in a safe and stylish environment. It is the first time that The Children’s Society has built one of the larger show gardens. The two previous golds were for a pair of small urban gardens.

The latest garden features, which was opened by TV Chef Jamie Oliver, a covered lounge seating area for the family to unwind around a safely designed fire pit. The area is vented and surrounded by curtains for privacy and warmth. The family can jump into the naturally filtered plunge pool or cook pizzas in the large outdoor brick oven. BBC Presenter Chris Beardshaw described the experience of sitting in the garden as woodsmoke drifted across among the flowers as "hugely atmospheric."

Multi-stemmed Acer campestre trees enclose the garden and provide dappled shade. Large Euonymous and Viburnum shrubs sit alongside aquilegias and foxgloves while ferns weave through the planting creating texture. Aquatic plants separate the huge stepping stones around the pool.


For images or more information about The Children's Society Garden please contact David Hudi-Dinnage in the Media Team on 020 7841 4422, 07810 796 508 or dhd@childsoc.org.uk.

Notes to Editor

Mark Gregory: Mark Gregory is Managing Director of Landform Consultants Limited and Director of the London College of Garden Design based in Regent’s Park, London. He has been building medal-winning gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for 20 years.

Children's Society: The Children's Society is a leading children's charity committed to making childhood better for all children in the UK; www.childrenssociety.org.uk.

Well-being: Understanding Children's Well-being was published on 27 January 2010. The survey of just under 7,000 10 to 15 year olds found that family conflict had a far bigger impact on child happiness than family structure. Some 17.5% said that they were unhappy with their appearance and one in 10 children regard themselves as unhappy.