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SSAFA has announced that it will have a garden, designed by Amanda Waring and supported by CCLA Investment Management, in the Urban category at next year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The backdrop of the Royal Hospital Chelsea gives the perfect setting for this Urban Garden, providing a military connection to the ‘SSAFA Garden supported by CCLA’.

Many companies and organisations support SSAFA in whatever way they can. Woodgate Nursery of Aylsham set up a Garden Show one weekend in 2018 and half the moneys raised were given to SSAFA. The garden above came first in their competition, and although the Chelsea garden in 2020 is likely to be very different, it gives some idea of what can be achieved on a slightly smaller scale. Image: Woodgate Nursery

After the show, the garden will be transferred to SSAFA’s Norton House, Stanford Hall near Loughborough, which offers a home-from-home for families and friends of service personnel being treated for injury nearby at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC). The modular building of the show garden will enable an efficient transfer from the show into a pre-designed space at Norton House, Stanford Hall. Once installed there, it will offer a peaceful space for friends, families, patients and staff to relax and enjoy.

SSAFA has worked with a number of organisations to open up gardens or design areas for people to contemplate the impact of war as well as quiet retreats for service personnel and Veterans. In this example, Horsted Keynes’ Tuesday Group members together with Town Place opened up the private garden in Freshfield to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme. Image: SSAFA and NGS

Amanda Waring is a multi-award-winning garden designer, including two RHS Gold Medals. Her beautifully considered design includes an infinity water feature which, together with the movement of the layered planting, are intended to restore and lift the spirit. The garden will be enclosed using timber walls and hedging, creating an area of security and quiet reflection, but also providing a place to sit.  The gentle sound of the infinity water feature and the movement of the layered planting are intended to restore and lift the spirit.

Garden designer, Amanda Waring, said: “Coming from a proud military family myself, this project has taken on an extra meaning for me. My son is currently serving in the British Army – so it felt like a natural fit to be able to design a space that would raise awareness of the invaluable work that SSAFA does. Knowing that the garden will transported back to directly benefit other military families who’s loved ones are recovering at the DMRC makes this even more poignant for me.”

Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said: “The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a matter of days after the 75th anniversary of VE Day, an occasion that allows us all to pay our respects to those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our Nation. It is my hope that visitors to this space will take a moment for reflection and gratitude for this sacrifice. After the show, the garden will then bring a great deal of comfort to the patients and their families once it is installed at our Norton House, Stanford Hall.  Our heartfelt thanks go to Amanda and to CCLA for their terrific support of SSAFA’s vital work.”

CCLA Chief Executive Peter Hugh Smith, said: “CCLA manages money for over 180 benevolent funds in the UK, many of them linked to our armed forces.  We are delighted that our Chelsea garden this year will continue difference to the men, women and families who make up our Armed Forces when it is transferred to Norton House.”

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Some of the gardens at Norton House, Selly Oak. Image: SSAFA

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Last year our teams of volunteers and employees helped more than 82,000 people in need, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts, and their families.

SSAFA understands that behind every uniform is a person. And we are here for that person – any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us.

Are you interested in gardens and gardening? Would you like to write articles for The Military Times? It might be gardening tips or the story of a specific garden – or just good general advice. Please do contact us if you would be interested in contributing, whether you are a Veteran or serving, or someone out there who takes in interest in our Armed Forces. Ed.

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