Debut garden is a golden wonder

Just Regional
Jun 14, 2023 2 mins read

Their very first Chelsea Flower Show garden has won Holt garden designers Joe and Laura Carey an RHS Gold medal – the highest achievable award.

The pair started designing gardens only in 2020 but their debut at the UK’s flagship show also resulted in a Best In Show award in their category.

“We were so pleased with the result, especially as we created this garden with many who have become friends – all of whom have worked so incredibly hard over the past year,” said Joe.

“We had a great build process, with most things running smoothly.

“We were able to keep our ‘Norfolk Calm’ throughout the whole process and we really enjoyed ourselves (we hope to be back soon!)”

The garden – representing Talitha Arts, a charity offering help for mental health and trauma through art – featured hundreds of porcelain butterflies emerging from a stone chrysalis.

The butterflies were made by Japanese ceramicist Naoko Tagai and the chrysalis by Norfolk-based carver Teucer Wilson.

The carefully chosen plants were grown and taken care of by local nurseries, and the couple said they had lots of support locally.

This extended to the team at Byfords who sent cakes and sausage rolls to keep the workforce going strong throughout the long days as the garden was built.

“Every element came together and the response from the public was amazing,” said Joe. “We had many people coming to the garden wanting to share their own experiences of how the creative arts helped them to deal with a personal trauma.”

They even had visits from celebrities including comedian Bill Bailey and actress Tamsin Grieg, who were keen to express how the arts plays a vital role in mental health and wellbeing.

“We were also visited by Akshata Murthy, the prime minister’s wife, who wanted to learn more about the charity and good cause behind the design itself.” 

And with so much local input, Norfolk visitors found plenty to connect them to the garden.

“Many of them had been following the story and each person could find a connection to someone they knew who had helped, made or grown something for the garden,” said Joe.

The garden will now be on permanent display at St Margaret’s House community centre in Bethnal Green, London.

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