The Myeloma UK Garden by Gold medal winning designers breathes life into the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Other News // 21st May 2018

The Myeloma UK Garden by RHS Gold medal winning designers John Everiss and Francesca Murrell breathes life into the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 using cutting-edge technology that has not been seen at the show before.

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 from myeloma.

The garden is designed by John Everiss, from Lancashire, and sponsored by Bord na Móna Growise, Meyer Homes, The Christopher Laing Foundation and Mo Moody, in memory of her husband Mike Moody, and gives a positive message about finding a cure for myeloma, an incurable blood cancer originating in the bone marrow. The enormous head and shoulder sculpture at the centre of the garden is modelled on Peter and Gill King’s daughter Gemma Peace, from Helensburgh, Scotland, and represents the role of the carer, who is a pivotal figure in helping patients and their families cope with everything a myeloma diagnosis brings.

The sculpture weighs a colossal seven tonnes, towers at 12 feet high and its innovative shape is constructed from layers of transparent Arctic blue Perspex® acrylic. The sculpture was part-assembled before the show and, as the gates at Chelsea are nine feet high, was fully constructed on the grounds. The garden is nearly 40 x 20 feet and is one of the Space to Grow gardens (a new section at Chelsea this year).

John and his team have used cutting-edge technology to create this unique sculpture. First, they scanned Gemma’s head and arms to generate a highly 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 is pushing away boulders. These are 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 suffer with myeloma. The boulders weigh up to two tonnes each and have been supplied by Mid Wales Stone.

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

There is no defined path through the garden, purposefully mirroring the situation many myeloma patients face. Francesca Murrell, from Sussex, has created the planting design, which features over 60 different plants and trees across the garden including: Taxus balls, Prunus and Malus, Anthriscus sylvestris, Matteuccia struthiopteris and Melica nutans.

Rosemarie Finley, Chief Executive of Myeloma UK, says:

“2018 marks 21 years of Myeloma UK and we are proud of 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 hope and care which should both move and inspire visitors.”

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

“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 have taken part in building The Myeloma UK Garden and will be available at the show to provide information and to help promote awareness of the disease.

To find out more about Myeloma UK at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 and to download the press kit, please see myeloma.org.uk