A team of Liverpool-based designers are creating a ‘foraging station’ garden for the grounds of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Brothers Hugh and Howard Miller of H. Miller Bros, will be showcasing the design at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show in May.
The garden will then be relocated permanently at the hospital to benefit patients and their families.
Who are the Miller brothers?
The award-winning Miller siblings, who are based in the Baltic Triangle and grew up on the Wirral, set up H. Miller Bros in 2019. They specialise in high-end interiors in wood and have worked together on a wide variety of projects.
Hugh is a woodworker, furniture maker and designer and Howard is a designer, architect and landscape designer.
Howard won a gold medal at Chelsea Flower Show in 2015 for his Dark Matter Garden which he worked closely on with astrophysicists at Liverpool John Moores University.
The brothers have been designing and creating together since childhood.
What is the Urban Foraging Station for?
The Alder Hey Urban Foraging Station has been designed to encourage engagement in nature.
The brothers said the importance of mental wellbeing, particularly in children, has been highlighted during the pandemic and although the garden is about foraging, it also addresses the issues of children’s mental wellbeing in an ‘accessible’ way.
What’s been said
Designer Howard Miller said: “We were really keen to work with Alder Hey to make a garden that celebrates the amazing work they do supporting children and their families.
“We’re a family business, local to the hospital and many of our family and friends have benefited from Alder Hey’s care; they’re a big part of our community.
“It’s a real privilege too that we can move the garden back to Alder Hey where it will become a living resource for children and medical practitioners to use for social prescribing and other informal therapies.”
Alder Hey Children’s Charity CEO Fiona Ashcroft said: “We hope the garden will be enjoyed by all the families that visit Alder Hey and from the surrounding area as it provides a beautiful opportunity to enjoy a Chelsea Show Garden right at the heart of the community.”
What will be in the garden?
The garden will feature a ‘picnic blanket’ made of glass reinforced concrete to work in all climates, along with baskets and a mobile foraging kitchen.
It will be full of plant species such as crab apple, rose hip, elderflower, wild garlic, mushroom, water mint and poppy seed, which have been traditionally foraged for eating, processing, drinking, making natural dyes or even used for bush crafts.
The garden will use timber extensively and planting will be restricted to native and UK-naturalised species.
The Alder Hey Urban Foraging Station garden is one of 12 show gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022 funded by ‘Project Giving Back’, which gives charitable organisations in the UK the chance to exhibit a show garden to promote their causes.
The garden’s journey to Alder Hey
The garden will be relocated to the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital campus in the summer of 2022.
It will be positioned just outside the entrance to Sunflower House, a new building dedicated to children and young people’s mental health services.
The building is due to open in the spring of 2022 and forms part of wider plans to create a unique paediatric healthcare campus.
The relocated garden will sit between the entrance to Sunflower House and the Research Institute in the grounds of the hospital with public access from the park, so everyone can visit it.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas launched Alder Hey Children’s Charity 7in10 Appeal in 2020 to raise funds for the Sunflower House facility.
The campaign has highlighted that seven out of 10 children and young people who experience a mental health condition in the UK do not get appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
A spokesperson for the charity said the campaign is now close to hitting its £3 million fundraising target.