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Celebrate Life without Walls at RHS Chelsea 2018

Naomi Ferrett-Cohen and CHERUB charity collaborate on a unique garden to break down walls of HIV infection for young people

Sussex-based garden designer, Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, is working with the HIV collaboration, CHERUB, at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, to help raise awareness about young people living with HIV in the UK and beyond. Naomi’s garden will challenge stigmas and promote the message that it’s possible to live well with HIV, as well as highlighting the search for a cure through dedicated scientific research.

Naomi has designed the debut garden with young people in mind, working in conjunction with the young people’s HIV charity CHIVA, which has offered advice and inspiration. Using over 1,000 plants, the key species will include Acer Osakazuki, Acer Vitifolium, Acer Palmatum, Drimys winteri and Dicksonia antarctica, supplied by Hortus Loci Ltd, Architectural Plants and other nurseries. Other materials include composite stone for a white ‘pod’ structure, Welsh blue-grey slate and bamboo composite.

Whilst clearly being a conceptual, show garden, Naomi has created a design that could still be recreated within a home garden context. The garden uses specialist planting and design to take visitors on a powerful symbolic journey, helping to promote acceptance and understanding about the condition – breaking down walls.

CHERUB, affiliated with Oxford University, identified RHS Chelsea as a great opportunity to raise public awareness around HIV, a disease which affects 37 million people globally. Whilst HIV is now treatable, it remains a complex condition in childhood and particularly adolescence.

Professor John Frater from CHERUB commented: “This project was inspired after visits to Chelsea and our understanding of the strong connections between gardens, health and well-being. We know Naomi will deliver a garden that not only works as a symbol for breaking down HIV barriers, but also creates a beautiful, motivational space to visit.”

Naomi Ferrett-Cohen added: “With my passion for gardening and my background in the care sector, I jumped at the chance to design this very special garden. I strongly believe in the power of gardens  to improve people’s health and mindset, and hope my debut garden at Chelsea will also serve to promote this incredibly important cause.”

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