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Designer: Karen Tatlow 

Built by: Design it Landscapes and MJL Garden Design

Sponsor: Cancer Research UK

RHS Awards: Silver-Gilt Award, Best Construction Award and The People’s Choice Award

The Cancer Research UK Legacy Garden was a peaceful and immersive space designed to celebrate people who remember the charity by leaving a gift in their will. These gifts are vital to the charity’s future progress.

The garden brought the important relationship between science and supporter to life through two halves.

The journey into the garden started with colourful planting and represented Cancer Research UK’s legacy supporters who have pledged to leave a gift in their will. A pergola provided shaded seating for visitors to sit, reflect and view the garden. The seating faced outwards to represent that leaving a gift in your will is looking out to the future. Patterns of plants used in cancer treatments created the back screen and roof.

Visitors transitioned to the other side of the garden through a circular moon gate. Set in the ground was an engraved paving circle that represented how gifts left in wills fuel research and lead the progress to beat cancer. This progress cannot be undone, and the engraving represented the permanence of this.

The research side of the garden was enclosed and shaded. The planting here was predominately white, reflecting the clinical nature of research. Three raised planters formed into a big ‘C’ created a seating area for visitors to immerse themselves in the planting. The seating looked into the garden and represented how research looks into science to find new ways of treating cancer.

Many of the plants featured in the garden have a connection with cancer. Chemicals from some of the plants in the garden have been tested for their anti-cancer properties. Some have led to drugs that are in use today treating cancer.

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