No one can help but smile when greeted with the sight of Sunflowers, their heads tilted in exaltation towards the sun. Bright and cheery, with brilliant yellow petals, also known as “rays”, sunflowers have an unmistakable appearance and while they are stunningly beautiful, they also are rich in meaning.
Used the world over as the emblem of the hospice movement, Sunflowers are thought to represent love, admiration, loyalty, positivity and strength – all qualities undeniably encompassed in hospice care. Sunflowers are known for being ‘happy’ flowers and a symbol of joy and used at a time when joy and happiness can be hard to find.
The design for the St Giles Hospice garden project takes on the theme of Sunflowers – showcasing bespoke paving inlaid with a sunflower design and a custom made metal screen laser cut in a pattern of sunflowers.
To add to that hundreds of specially made metal Sunflowers, sold to raise funds for both St Giles and to help fund the garden project, will create an art installation at the heart of the garden
The seeds of the Sunflowers are thought to represent patients and the surrounding petals love, care and compassion. Sunflowers move to follow the sun during the day, from East to West, at night returning to face the East, ready to face the new day. They draw strength from focusing on the light and not the darkness. As Helen Keller famously quoted;
The metal Sunflowers are being sold for £20 each, with 50% of the proceeds going to St Giles and 50% going to help fund the building of the garden, first as a Show Garden at RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May 2020 and then back in the grounds of the hospice in Whittington, Staffordshire.
A huge Thank You! to everyone so far who has bought the St Giles Hospice Sunflowers. In fact that’s 100 Huge Thank Yous! as we have now sold 100 Sunflowers and reached our first Milestone!
As many will know by now, metal Sunflowers are being sold to help fund a garden project in support of St Giles Hospice, Whittington. Sunflowers are being sold for £20 each, with 50% of the proceeds going directly to St Giles and 50% going to build the garden. The garden will first be exhibited as a Show Garden at RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May 2020, before being brought back and installed in the grounds of the hospice in Whittington.
We are hoping to sell 500 hundred Sunflowers to raise funds for St Giles and help fund the garden.
Reaching the 100 Sunflowers sold mark is a real milestone for the project and one I didn’t expect to reach so quickly! It is so lovely how everyone is getting behind the Sunflowers idea and it seems to be creating quite a buzz.
Saying that, we still have 400 Sunflowers to go, so please could everyone keep spreading the word and keep the buzz going.
Karen Tatlow, of Karen Tatlow Garden Design who has designed the garden.
Hundreds of decorative metal Sunflowers, the Sunflower being the emblem of the hospice movement, are being sold to help fund a garden project in support of St Giles Hospice, near Lichfield, Staffordshire.
Garden designer Karen Tatlow, has designed a show garden in collaboration with St Giles Hospice, Whittington, which will be exhibited at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May 2020, before being brought back and re-built, piece by piece, in the hospice grounds.
Anyone wishing to help support the project can buy Sunflowers for £20 each. 50% of the proceeds will go directly to St Giles Hospice, while the other 50% will go to help fund the building of the garden.
The Sunflowers will first go to RHS Malvern Spring Festival, where they will create a poignant art installation at the heart of the show garden for all to see. After the show they will be brought back to St Giles, when people can either choose to collect their Sunflowers in person 18th – 31st May, or choose to leave them at St Giles where they will go to create an art installation in the grounds of the hospice.
We want to sell 500 Sunflowers, which will not only help to build the garden, but also be a great way to raise a lot of money to go directly to St Giles.
That’s a lot of Sunflowers and we only have 10 weeks until we start building the garden! So we really need everyone thinking about buying their Sunflowers to do it as soon as possible.
The Sunflowers were kindly photographed by professional photographer Jenny Lilly. Jenny has had commissions to photograph show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for many years and it is very exciting that she will be photographing St Giles Hospice “The Moments that Matter” garden when it is exhibited at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
Only a week ago, the St Giles Hospice garden project was officially launched and already supporters have purchased over 50 Sunflowers to help fund not only the garden, but also raise funds directly for St Giles.
Generous supporters have purchased decorative metal Sunflowers for £20 each, with 50% of the proceeds going directly to St Giles and 50% towards building the garden at RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May 2020, before bringing it back, piece by piece and building it again in the grounds of the hospice.
Those attending the launch last week, had a sneak preview of the decorative garden metal Sunflowers, designed to be staked in the ground.
It’s unbelievable how many Sunflowers have already been sold. Everyone seems to really like the idea and so many more have said they are going to get theirs!
Some who claim they are completely hopeless gardeners have joked that even they can’t kill these flowers off!
Once purchased the Sunflowers will first go to create part of an art installation at the heart of the show garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, after which they will be brought back to the hospice. If they wish, people can then collect their Sunflowers in person back at St Giles, Whittington, Monday 18th – Sunday 31st May. Or they can choose to leave their Sunflowers at St Giles, where they will become part of the garden installation, back in Whittington, for all to enjoy.
We are hoping to sell 500 of the metal Sunflowers to make an amazing art installation in the show garden that will really get people talking!
But if we sell that many it will also represent an amazing contribution from the local community, both towards St Giles and towards making this garden happen for them.
A great evening was had by all at St Giles Hospice in Whittington last Thursday, when Karen Tatlow, of Karen Tatlow Garden Design, officially launched the St Giles Hospice garden project, to an audience of local business owners, Whittington and Lichfield residents and of course many from the St Giles Hospice community. Jeremy Cotton, Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire also very kindly lent his support by attending on the evening.
Attendees were treated to a presentation giving an ‘insiders view’ of the building of an RHS Show Garden – before the story behind the design of the St Giles show garden garden was revealed and how it will come back to the hospice at Whittington after the show.
People were fascinated to learn of the attention to detail that is required to build a show garden, the lengths designers will go to in their quest for perfection and the sheer hard work and determination that is involved.
Come rain or shine, hail or even hurricanes – you must have that garden finished in time for judging day and no amount of excuses – however genuine – will be accepted. Even when things go wrong – which they always do – you just have to plough on regardless!
The story behind the design of the St Giles garden was then explained – how the space is not only accessible to wheelchairs, but that a patient bed can also be wheeled into the garden. How a specially commissioned cantilevered pergola and height adjustable movable table, completely free up the space to accommodate any activity. And how ‘one offs’ like a beautifully intricate laser cut screen, with stained glass inserts and bespoke porcelain pavers are being designed and manufactured for the garden.
Guests were treated to a sneak preview of the Sunflowers for the art installation …
Guests were also treated to a sneak preview of the Metal Sunflowers that are going to make up an art installation at the heart of the garden. Anyone can support the project by buying a Sunflower for £20, with 50% of the proceeds being donated to St Giles Hospice and 50% being used to fund the show garden at RHS Malvern. Sunflowers can be bought at the following link …
First the Sunflowers will go to create part of the art installation at the heart of the show garden at RHS Malvern in May, after which, if they wish, people can collect their Sunflowers in person back at St Giles.
The support we have had so far from local businesses is amazing!
Urban Street Designs, AT Services, Logi Engineering, Tippers, Just Granite, Lichfield Garden Centre, Gleeson Recruitment, Grangewood Garden Centre, Masonry Solutions, Downes and Daughters, South Staffordshire Paper Products, Brookside Nursery and ReadyHedge.
These are all on board already and of course we must mention MJL Garden Design who will be building the garden, not only at the show, but for a second time back at St Giles.
Many more have expressed their wish to pledge their support, but of course we are still hoping to find more businesses that would like to help us make this garden happen!
The evening also gave those attending the chance to find out all about the various volunteer roles there are available to help support the project. Volunteers can help to build the garden behind the scenes at RHS Malvern, or back at St Giles in Whittington after the show. There are other opportunities to get involved, perhaps with the administration side of things, or even cooking and freezing homemade meals to keep the troops going!
Join award winning RHS garden designer Karen Tatlow to hear the ‘STORY OF A SHOW GARDEN’ – sharing her experience of building and exhibiting an RHS show garden last year, which picked up no less than three awards, including “People’s Choice Show Garden” and well as attracting national media coverage.
Building a garden from scratch out of nothing, to an absolute deadline in a matter of days and making it look like it has been there for years is no easy task. In fact it could be described as a form of insanity!
We ended up doing all sorts of crazy things to make it happen and those are the kind of things people are most interested in hearing about.
Karen will also be sharing the story behind the St Giles garden, which will be at RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May, before being moved, piece by piece, back to the hospice in Whittington, Lichfield.
There’ll be the opportunity to find out how to pledge your support for the project, whether that’s getting involved in building the garden, spreading the word, helping financially, or signing up to help bring the garden back to Whittington.
The garden is becoming a real community project, with people, local organisations and businesses across Whittington Village and Lichfield all coming together to donate time, products, services and expertise, as well as financial donations.
It’s an absolute joy to see so many people and businesses wanting to lend their support to build this garden for the hospice.
We have already raised support worth an estimated £58K, which is so wonderful, but we still have about £13K to go, so every little bit that people and businesses can give is so important … and of course we cannot do it all alone, so we are also looking for volunteers that can help us!
All are welcome to come along to the Launch Event, whether you are a local business owner or representative that would like to find out more, or someone who is simply fascinated about the world of RHS Show Gardens!
The Launch Event is at St Giles Hospice, Whittington, on the 23rd January, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Tickets are free, with a request for a donation on the night towards the garden if possible.
WFEG – or Whittington and Fisherwick Environment Group – are getting behind the St Giles Hospice garden project and invited Karen to come along to their Christmas Market at the weekend to start spreading the news to the local community.
Karen took the opportunity to talk to people about the project, explaining how exhibiting the garden first as a show garden at RHS Malvern will create additional publicity for St Giles, before bringing the garden back to Whittington and re-building it in the grounds of the hospice for patients, visitors and staff to use.
We also want to use the garden as a way of bringing the local community together to help support the hospice. People can be fearful of coming into a hospice, thinking they are going to be sad, dark places and this project is a wonderful way of helping St Giles to overcome that.
Anyone can get involved. Metal sunflowers – the sunflower being the emblem of the hospice movement – are going to be sold for £20 with 50% of the proceeds being donated to St Giles and 50% being used to fund the garden. The sunflowers will be used as part of an art exhibition at the heart of the show garden, then brought back to St Giles for people to collect if they wish, or leave them for the garden at St Giles.
People can also volunteer their time – for example, helping out with the build of the show garden at RHS Malvern, or after the show back at the hospice grounds in Whittington re-building the garden, or even coordinating the volunteers!
We are also hoping to find local businesses that will help support the project, by donating goods or services, or by sponsoring us financially. We need things like building materials, printing and graphic design, but of course we are also going to need money to pay for some things!
Karen, supported by her husband Tony, talked to well over 100 people during the day.
Everyone was so interested, supportive and positive about the project – it was a joy to speak to so many people. We also took pages of email addresses of people wanting to know more about the project and happy to do their part in spreading the word!
St Giles Hospice, Whittington are hosting an event to launch the project on the 23 January, where Karen will be sharing her experience of creating an RHS show garden last year and plans for the St Giles garden this year. Book your ticket on EventBrite or follow the link;
Although in its first incarnation ‘The Moments That Matter’ garden will be a show garden exhibited at RHS Malvern in May 2020, it’s lasting legacy will be as a real life garden back in the grounds of St Giles Hospice, Whittington.
Today we met with Jenni Fryer, St Giles Community Engagement Co-ordinator and project lead on the St Giles side of things and Adam Whitehead, Head of Estates for St Giles Hospice, who manages all of the St Giles sites, including the gardens.
“The plan is to re-site the garden in the area shown in the photograph, just outside the inpatient wing. Each room has its own patio and these will be connected to the garden, so not only will patients and visitors be able to look out onto the garden, they will also be able to go out and actually enjoy using it.
Karen Tatlow, the garden designer and Mike Lote, lanscaping contractor who will be building the show garden at RHS Malvern, will be donating their time to rebuild the garden back at St Giles.
“It’s a big job for just two people so we are looking to reach out to the local community for volunteers and even asking local businesses to donate staff time, to help us recreate the garden back in Whittington.
To find out how you can support the project visit the dedicated website or contact Karen
Karen Tatlow of Karen Tatlow Garden Design has designed a community garden which will be entered in next year’s RHS Malvern Show, before it is then moved piece by piece to St Giles Hospice in Whittington.
The garden – which will become a ‘family space’ at the hospice has already been fully designed in collaboration with St Giles.
St Giles Community Engagement Co-ordinator Jenni Fryer said the garden project was a wonderful way to highlight the accessibility of the hospice, as well as opening it up to the wider community.
“People can often be fearful of coming into hospices, thinking they are going to be dark, sad places and this garden is a great way of showcasing to a huge audience what St Giles is all about.
“It’s wonderfull to think that so many people will see a different view of hospices at the show and when the garden comes back to the hospice at Whittington.
Karen, who last year won three awards at the prestigious RHS Malvern Show, explained
“Everything has been designed with a purpose – not only is there wheelchair access, there is room to take a bed into the garden and still be able to accommodate family, friends and even pets.
In launching the appeal Karen is hoping people will come together to volunteer their time and find out how a financial pledge will help to create this wonderful garden.
“We have already secured a tremendous amount of support to make this project happen … we are over half way there … but we estimate we still need support to the value of £27k.
“This project is a great opportunity for businesses to get involved in supporting the hospice, from sponsoring the garden to donating goods or services and even staff time to the build of the garden at the show or back at the hospice.
As part of the project, hundreds of metal sunflowers -the sunflower being the symbol of the hospice movement – will be on sale for £20 each, with half going to St Giles and the rest going to fund the building of the garden. Karen said
“These are a lovely way for anyone to be able to contribute to the project. The sunflowers will create a beautiful and poignant art installation at the heart of the show garden. After the show they will all be brought back to St Giles, when people can either collect them, or they will go into the garden at the hospice.
The RHS Malvern Show gets over 100,000 visitors each year, features in several television programmes – including Gardeners’ World – as well as extensive newspaper, magazine and on line coverage. It really is big news, so an award winning garden will certainly get a lot of publicity for St Giles Hospice.
To donate, help, or support the project you can visit the dedicated website or contact Karen