Local families grow plants and paint pebbles at home for RHS Chelsea prize winning garden, the Family Monsters Garden,relocating to Stafford

The bulk of idverde and Family Action’s award winning ‘Family Monsters Garden’ has been installed at its new permanent home at the Silkmore Children’s Centre, Stafford. The garden, which will live in front of the Children’s Centre on the grounds of Silkmore Primary School, won a Gold Medal and was named Best Artisan Garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

idverde have been able to install the trees, boulders and soil over the last two weeks. Due to the closure of schools and necessary social distancing measures in place due to the Corona Virus crisis, local families are helping to create the garden by growing plants from seeds at home and decorating pebbles with their children. The plants and pebbles will go in as the garden is completed and before it opens later this year.

Members of Family Action’s ESCAPE Community Allotment and Orchard, in Swaffham, Norfolk, who helped create the Family Monsters Garden for the flower show last year, are also growing plants from their homes, to be included in the relocated garden.

Family Action created the Family Monsters Garden with leading green service provider idverde to encourage families to talk about the everyday pressures they face, so that they don’t become overwhelming, as well as spend quality time together.

Trees for the garden have been chosen with obvious imperfections to convey how families can grow together after tackling challenges, with boulders of different shapes and sizes representing different family monsters that are made smaller by talking about them.

Garden designer Alistair Bayford has been leading the work to relocate the garden with skilled idverde apprentices, who will also provide the local community with the knowledge and skills to care for the garden long-term.

David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive of Family Action, said:

“We know that families from the Silkmore Children’s Centre and the local community are incredibly excited to have a prize-winning garden to enjoy. The Family Monsters Garden was designed to help families talk about pressures and spend time together, and it’s really important to us that local families help create the garden.

“As we all battle with the impact of COVID-19, we are pleased that families will be able to use some of the time they will be spending together at home to grow plants and paint pebbles for the garden. We’re looking forward to bringing the community together to celebrate the opening of the garden later this year.”

 Alistair Bayford, Operations Director of idverde and designer of the garden said:

“The gardens relocation to Silkmore Children’s Centre is another chapter in its life and legacy after its RHS Chelsea Flower Show success.  It will, in years to come, provide a vital resource for local families and over time establish under the custodianship of those who will maintain and care for it.

“We’re delighted to be supporting the relocation and facilitating the remote involvement of local families and the ESCAPE Community Allotment and Orchard during the challenging times we find us in.”

Doug Graham, CEO of idverde added:

“We’re proud that there will be a lasting legacy when the Family Monsters Garden relocates to its new home at the Silkmore Children’s Centre in Stafford.

“It is more important than ever to support our families at the moment, and we are extremely pleased that local families are able to contribute to the garden from their homes. Thanks must also be extended to our idverde colleagues, Family Action, and all those members of the community who are supporting the movement and reconstruction of the garden, for their commitment and dedication in these challenging times.”

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

“The first five years of a child’s life are vital for their future health and wellbeing which is why we work so hard to provide early help and advice for young families in both children’s centres and the wider community.

“I’m delighted to see the garden being installed at the Silkmore Children’s Centre to enhance the invaluable work they do there.”

We are aiming to open the Family Monsters Garden later this year for the whole community to enjoy and will welcome local families to add their home-grown plants and decorated pebbles to the garden.

The garden will also draw more families in the area to the activities for young children such as singing and drama run at the Children’s Centre, and the support for parents including baby health clinics, breastfeeding support and parenting classes.

Staffordshire County Council commissions Family Action to co-ordinate early years services in communities and at their 11 children’s centres.

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