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Young designer donates garden to NHS after taking top prizes at national show

The Covid Recovery Garden [CREDIT: Julie Skelton]

A garden designer from Marlow has won the ‘People’s Choice’ award in the Young Designer category at RHS Tatton Park, 2022 - then donated her garden to a local community hospital.

25-year-old Rachel Platt, who’s lived in Marlow all her life, told Bucks Radio she was ‘thrilled’ and ‘delighted’ to gain the recognition from the public for her design, as well as receiving a prestigious Silver Gilt award.

Rachel’s garden, titled 'The Covid Recovery Garden' was inspired by her own year-long battle with Long Covid, which she developed after catching Covid-19 in December 2020, before a vaccine was available.

Based on the staff carried by the Greek God, Hermes, which represents rejuvenation, the garden’s design was directly influenced by the medical professionals who treated her.

“The design itself was inspired by the medical insignia that nurses wear with the pin and the snake,” the young creator and entrepreneur explained.

Following her achievements at RHS Tatton Park, which also saw her gain the runner-up spot in the overall category, Rachel contacted Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and offered to donate her garden to them – an offer which was enthusiastically accepted.

The garden is currently being rebuilt within the grounds of the community hospital at Brookside in Aylesbury.

Rachel told us: “I knew I wanted this to go to a hospital when I saw how busy all the nurses were while I was sick,” adding, “it makes me feel very warm inside knowing that what started out as a show garden now has a home, has an afterlife, a legacy, where people can use it and love it.”

[PICTURE: Garden designer, Rachel Platt, from Marlow]

She said that she thinks her love for garden designs stems from her parents taking her to flower shows as a child.

Consequently, after gaining a degree in geography, Rachel says the career idea “clicked almost instantaneously” to combine what she’d learnt relating to nature with her long held interest in design.

This led to a post-graduate course, for which Rachel received a distinction, and eventually choosing to risk going it alone and starting her own business.

But she admits she always had one eye on doing a show garden, harking back to her childhood memories.

“I always wanted to do a show garden, and having been to Chelsea and Hampton and knowing there’s a category for under-28s, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity,” she explained.

Ultimately, the designs she submitted were chosen as one of the five young finalists to display their garden at RHS Tatton Park in July this year.

[VIDEO: Listen to Rachel share her story]


[PICTURE: Path representing the snake from the medical insignia (CREDIT: Julie Skelton)]

[PICTURE: The Covid Spike Protein (CREDIT: Julie Skelton)]

[PICTURE: Rachel's Garden]

You can view more of her designs here: www.rpgardendesign.com

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