Steven Graham at Chelsea Flower Show 2023 in pictures: photos of award-winning actor opening new garden

The beautiful sanctuary garden has around 2,000 plants and aims to support dementia patients.

Award-winning Scouse actor Stephen Graham has officially opened a brand-new sanctuary garden at the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week.

Designed by Charlie Hawkes, the Rare Space Sanctuary Garden aims to provide a tranquil space for patients with dementia to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

Graham, an ambassador for The National Brain Appeal, was joined by Helena Clarke, who is living with rare dementia, posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), and her husband David Clarke.

The beautiful garden won gold at the flower show on Tuesday and has around 2,000 plants, including Hakonechloa macra, commonly known as Japanese forest grass, which forms clumps of elegant arching foliage and can be easily maintained throughout each British season.

A multi-stem form of the Parrotia persica in the garden provides defined shade and contrast to help people living with rare dementias such as posterior cortical atrophy (PCA).

The level, textured path with minimal joints turns through the garden offers along its way brightly coloured benches and sheltered spaces for tranquil rest spaces.

Stephen Graham said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to spend time on The National Brain Appeal’s ‘Rare Space’ garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and to understand how you can design and use certain types of plants, trees and flowers to make it somewhere that people with rare dementias can enjoy and feel safe.

“When I was researching young-onset Alzheimer’s for my character Tony in the Channel 4 drama HELP, I was privileged to work with Rare Dementia Support, funded by The National Brain Appeal. I saw first-hand, what an absolute lifeline these support groups are for people and their loved ones affected by rare dementias. These are often people with jobs and young families and their worlds are turned upside-down. I found the experience of talking to them really humbling.

“It is brilliant that this garden is going to live on after the show and be relocated to the world’s first Rare Dementia Support Centre that the charity is currently fundraising for. If you can spare any money to helping them create this centre, you can get all the details on their website”