Chelsea Success For Local Garden Designer
Ruth Willmott's garden in memory of her sister-in-law raised funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Chelsea Flower Show awardwinner and local garden designer Ruth Willmott wants the horticultural and garden design industry to become involved in raising funds for breast cancer research.
Speaking to chiswickw4.com as she finished up at Chelsea Flower Show after winning two awards, Ruth, who has lived in W4 for more than twenty years, said that the experience of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Garden at this year's festival had made her believe more could be done by the garden design industry to help cancer research.
Ruth won a silver-gilt medal in the Fresh Garden category as well as the 'RHS People’s Choice Fresh Garden' award.
Ruth's exhibit comprised a double DNA helix shape , of a stone pathway dotted with pink flowers running through it. It included a striking metal sculpture of a woman's body, and water pools rippling on a timer to symbolise that one woman in the UK is diagnosed with breast cancer every ten minutes. The garden was created in memory of Ruth's sister in law Angela Willmott, a mother of two young children, who died from breast cancer in 2014. The helix is symbolic of the need for genetic research, and the sculpture by Rick Kirby symbolises the courage of women diagnosed with breast cancer. White flowers at the edge of the garden merge into pink- the colour associated with breast cancer.
Image- Michelle Garrett
A delighted Ruth said: "I was over the moon at being a winner but to win the People's Choice award was worth more than any medal. It felt more than a garden, while I was here there were all sorts of people coming up to talk to me and view the garden, women who had just been diagnosed, women who were given the all-clear, women who had secondary breast cancer, men who had lost women in their lives. It was incredibly moving, overwhelming.
"What I want to do now is take this further and meet with the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity to talk about how we can take the initiative and find innovative ways in which the horticultural industry can become involved, so that garden design can contribute to cancer research in a similar way to the fashion industry which has become involved. I feel strongly that this is something I want to do and it's been reinforced by the week here at the show."
Image- Michelle Garrett
Ruth's brother-in-law and his two sons had visited her garden at Chelsea and Ruth felt that the garden had been a really positive force for the family after the trauma of losing Angela to cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK – 31% of cancers diagnosed in women are breast cancer.
The exhibition was the end result of many months of hard work involving teams of skilled workers, includig seven contractors, six planters, and several staff from CUBE 1994 , Kelways nursery and Deepdale trees. Ruth had originally approached the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity with the idea several months ago, with a target of raising £10,000. Neither she nor the charity had ever previously taken on such a project but it has turned out to be a huge success. The garden has been sold to a client and the exhibit received extensive national media coverage.
Back home in Chiswick, where she lives with her husband and two children, Ruth has a 'minimalist' garden which she describes as a structural garden, which also contains play equipment for the children.
Another view of Ruth's exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show -pic- Michelle Garrett
A latecomer to garden design- she was previously a management consultant- this is her third year at Chelsea Flower Show. Her last Fresh garden was awarded an RHS Gold medal in 2013.
Closer to home, Ruth also spends time with her family in local parks, including Chiswick House and Ravenscourt Park.
"We're lucky to have such a lot of green space in Chiswick, I really enjoy living here".