RDA wins Chelsea Flower Show gold medal for anniversary garden

  • A garden featuring a life-size sculpture of a child on a pony to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has won a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

    The garden was created for the RDA and Hall Farm Nursery in tandem, by the nursery’s owners Christine and Nick Ffoulkes Jones. With a combination of flowers, grasses and other plants, and the life-size sculpture of a child on a pony by Rupert Till as a centrepiece, the garden is based on the RDA poem “I saw a child”.

    RDA, full name Riding for the Disabled Association Incorporating Carriage Driving, provides horse and carriage riding for people with disabilities. RDA links more than 500 volunteer groups. Its 18,000 volunteers put 26,500 special needs adults and children into saddles and carriage seats annually.

    “It’s a super charity. It helps so many people across such a wide range,” said Christine Ffoulkes Jones.

    The Ffoulkes Jones of Hall Farm Nursery in Shropshire have staged 59 RHS exhibits over the past 17 years, winning 46 RHS gold medals.

    “Both my husband and I volunteer for a local RDA group near Shrewsbury, so when the 40th anniversary came up we took up the challenge to create a garden for them,” said Christine.

    “The RDA poem has a child riding ‘through a field of daisies’, and another riding ‘through woods of green’, so we used that as our theme.”

    RDA chief executive Ed Bracher said: “We put in £2,500 of raised funds, with the Hall Farm Nursery paying the vast bulk of costs.

    “RHS rules prevent us from fundraising at the show itself, but the garden should do a lot for our profile.”

    The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 25 to 29 May. The Daily Telegraph Garden has won Best Show Garden. Gold medals are awarded for a combination of plant quality, theme, overall standard and how the various features link with each other.

    See www.rda.org.uk for more on the charity.

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