The Myeloma UK Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Myeloma UK news, Other News // 23rd January 2018

The Myeloma UK Garden debuted at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, winning a silver-gilt medal. Designed by John Everiss and Francesca Murrell, the garden was one of three major events marking the blood cancer charity’s 21 years of making myeloma history.

The Myeloma UK Garden was inspired by Peter King, a Myeloma UK supporter from Hertfordshire whose wife Gill and brother Graham both passed away in 2016 after a short battle with the cancer.

The garden gave a positive message about the fight against myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer which originates in the bone marrow. The large-scale head and shoulder sculpture at the centre of the garden was modelled on Peter and Gill King’s daughter Gemma Peace and represented the role of the carer, who is often a pivotal figure in ensuring the patient remains the central focus of a myeloma diagnosis.

The seven tonne, 12 foot high sculpture was constructed from layers of Arctic blue Perspex® acrylic. Due to its size and the gates at Chelsea being only nine feet high, the sculpture had to be part-assembled before the show and fully constructed on the grounds. The garden was nearly 40 x 20 feet and located in the Space to Grow section.

John and his team used cutting-edge technology to create this unique sculpture. First, they scanned Gemma’s head and arms to generate a very detailed 3D digital image, which was then turned into the slices of data used to create the multiple layers of the sculpture.

Stage One, who are known, amongst many other high profile projects, for building Thomas Heatherwick’s iconic London 2012 Olympic cauldron, created the layers using Perspex® acrylic sheet.

Gemma’s left hand was pushing away boulders. These were physical representations of plasma cells, from which the cancer arises, as well as symbols of the barriers and the obstacles people face in care when they are living with myeloma. The boulders weighed up to two tonnes each and were supplied by Mid Wales Stone.

Gemma’s right hand was cupped and appeared to be gently blowing seeds and plants onto fertile soil below, to represent new treatment and as a sign of hope and growth.

There was no defined path through the garden, purposefully mirroring the situation many myeloma patients face. Up to 60 different plants and trees featured across the garden including: Taxus balls, Prunus and Malus, Anthriscus sylvestris, Matteuccia struthiopteris and Melica nutans.

“2018 marks 21 years of Myeloma UK and we are proud to announce our first ever garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, as part of our annual programme of events.

Our goal has always been to find a cure for myeloma but until that time, we exist to provide information and support to patients and carers alike.

The themes of our garden are care and hope which should both move and inspire visitors.”

Rosemarie Finley, Chief ExecutiveMyeloma UK

John Everiss, designer of The Myeloma UK Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, said:

“When Myeloma UK contacted me about doing this garden, I didn’t have a second thought about it. It’s been an amazing process and particularly enjoyable working with people that really believe in what they are doing.

The Myeloma UK Garden is a wonderful tool for telling a story and for getting people emotionally involved. I’m hoping visitors to Chelsea will come away from the garden knowing more about myeloma – and also how they can support the charity.”

Myeloma UK staff members took part in building The Myeloma UK Garden and were on hand at the show to provide information and to help promote awareness of the cancer. The garden was well received

We would like to thank our sponsors of the garden, who helped make the garden possible: Bord na Móna Horticulture, Meyer Homes, The Christopher Laing Foundation and Mo Moody in memory of her husband, Mike Moody.