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Show Garden: The Connections Garden

The concept for the show garden draws inspiration from the infrequent but beautiful, short lived moments when someone with dementia suddenly becomes more engaged and talkative, we get to see their personality before the condition progressed.

The Connections Garden by garden designer Ryan McMahon for Hampton Court Flower Show 2022

In keeping with the idea that being out in natural environments has benefits for people suffering from dementia and their families, Ryan has opted for a garden inspired by an opening in a woodland.

The Connections Garden by garden designer Ryan McMahon for Hampton Court Flower Show 2022

To create the feeling of being in a woodland opening once a mature tree has fallen, an uprooted tree would cut across the front of the garden. Younger trees are emerging and wildflowers are taking over.

The Connections Garden by garden designer Ryan McMahon for Hampton Court Flower Show 2022

Through one side of the garden is a path. This path would be partially covered overhead by an organic yarnboming structure, the design of which is based on neurons in the brain and the broken connections between neurons, the loss of memories and the onset of the disease. There would be gaps and spaces within this structure that frame the garden and through which people can access the central garden space. It is these views of the garden through the slightly claustrophobic structure, as well as access into the garden, that have been inspired by the beautiful but short-lived moments that initially provided inspiration for the garden.

The Connections Garden by garden designer Ryan McMahon for Hampton Court Flower Show 2022

The yarnboming structure will be covered in patches of knitting and crochet made by people who know someone with this disease, each patch will represent someone with dementia.

The path would continue to a paved area at the rear of the garden with seating to provide an overview of the garden. Next to this slightly elevated area is a water feature; a stone trough with water gently cascading down the sides into a stone lined stream that cuts through the garden connecting to the entrance where it ends in a circular water pool. The flow of water from the stream entering this pool would create a circular movement on the surface of the water, with the water visibility disappearing, representing the loss of memories.

The composition within the garden symbolises connected change and how something devastating can also lead to something beautiful; how a family and friends come together to support each other in times of adversity as well as broadly addressing what Alzheimer’s and Dementia is at a cellular level.

Plant List

Chamaemelum nobile
Achillea millefolium
Actaea racemosa
Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora
Leucanthemum vulgare
Cephalaria gigantea
Rodgersia podophylla
Ammi majus
Angelica sylvestris
Fragaria vesca
Geum rivale 'Album'
Onopordum acanthium
Daucus carota
Filipendula ulmaria
Valeriana officinalis
Astrantia major
Dipsacus fullonum
Lychnis flos-cuculi 'White Robin'
Digitalis lutea
Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa Gracilis'
Deschampsia cespitosa
Silene latifolia
Visnaga daucoides
Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Snowmaiden'
Marrubium vulgare
Trifolium repens
Centaurea cyanus 'White Ball'