The Forest Will See You Now
Michelle feels strongly about this message and has first-hand knowledge of the benefits working in a natural environment can give, as Michelle is not only a garden designer, she is also a horticultural therapist, currently studying at Coventry University in Social and therapeutic horticulture.
Having been with the charity Thrive for three years and now working independently with charities and schools, Michelle has worked with people from all walks of life, introducing horticulture as a way to improve wellbeing. She is currently working on a project in Tooting, South London, with a group of men who were homeless or vulnerable, encouraging them to transform their garden.
“The key with these guys is to create fascination and wonder within a garden environment. Once you capture their curiosity they are hooked. Many of the students have mental health or addiction issues and being in a garden allows them a sense of calm, an escape from everyday issues. Connecting with nature is scientifically proven to relieve symptoms of mental health.
Nature has provided us with the means to alleviate many of today’s ailments, time spent in a forest can strengthen your immune system, increase natural killer cells which help kill of cancer cells, improve memory, attention and help improve depression, plus so so much more. The UK is on the verge of deforestation, just 13% of the UK is forest. Now more than ever we need to respect, cherish and appreciate our forests and woodland.”, Michelle tells us.
The garden, wrapped in a large packet of blister pills created by 989 design, will be built with the help of Landscaping Solutions Ltd and will present a typical UK forest setting with recognisable trees including Scots pine, Birch and Corylus.
The forest floor will be strewn with fallen leaves and branches and shade tolerant woodland perennials supplied by Harrowden Turf. One of the main garden features will be a fallen tree with its roots on display, encouraging visitors to take a moment and absorb the beauty of nature.
Of course no forest floor is complete without boulders and for these Michelle approached our CED Stone Landscape - West Drayton Depot. With the help of Depot Manager Ralph Allen, Michelle selected several Yorkstone Boulders for her forest. To give them an authentic forest look Michelle is attempting to grow moss on them especially for the show using her special homebrew ‘moss smoothie’ made from moss cultivated at her home. Michelle has very kindly allowed us to share with readers, her’ Moss Smoothie’ recipe.
Take a handful of Moss, give it a shake, so you have as little on soil on as possible.
3 Tablespoons of Yogurt
1 tablespoon of sugar
A slug of beer for good luck, and the extra yeast !
Whiz with a hand-blender to a paintable consistency and paint on object.
Moss likes humid environments. Spritz with water (preferably rainwater) if looking dry.
Top tip: Whatever you wish your Moss smoothie to grow on this should be where you take the moss from, such as brick wall, log etc. Thats not a strict rule I just think it will aid success. And just to be clear don’t take Moss from woods or forests. My moss was growing on a number of rocks in my garden so I know its the right variety to grow on the gorgeous CED Stone rocks.
Hopefully, Michelle’s moss growing experiment has been a success and we cannot wait to see the result and this fantastic garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. For more information about the show visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-hampton-court-palace-garden-festival.