March 2019

A Boost for Veterans’ Growth.

We are delighted to announce the Perennial show garden to be exhibited at RHS Cardiff this year is to be relocated to our site in East Sussex after the show.

Veterans’ Growth is due to receive the garden after the RHS Cardiff Flower Show (12-14 April 2019) finishes. The garden will be redesigned by Peter Donegan to fit around the buildings at our site and will be installed in late summer. It will make an instant positive impact on the therapy we can provide to our veterans, extending the range of skills we can teach and providing a stunning outdoor area for socialising and relaxing.

Jason Stevens founded Veterans’ Growth in November 2018 after he witnessed the struggles fellow veterans were facing when attempting to get treatment for mental health disorders. The mission of Veterans’ Growth is to provide horticultural therapy and support to veterans facing these issues. The physical and mental health benefits of horticulture have been widely reported; participants will gain confidence, knowledge and experience and some will go on to find work experience and employment within the industry..

The aim of the charity is to offer support, advocacy and a place on the programme to every veteran in the UK who wants to attend and/or is unable to access help through other channels. If one life is saved as a result of contact with the charity we will call it a success.p>

Jason Stevens, CEO of Veterans' Growth says:

We are delighted to be the recipients of this special garden, which is celebrating a landmark year for Perennial, who do such great work in the horticultural industry. The design, craftsmanship and materials in the garden are of the highest standard and we very much look forward to providing this garden with a permanent home where it can be enjoyed by many for years to come.

We always planned to have a kitchen garden at our new site in East Sussex and this makes that dream a reality. To know this great charity that I have supported for the last few years is willing to give back and help our veterans is just brilliant. I want to personally thank everyone involved in this, it means so much that people outside can see what we do makes a difference to the mental health of our veterans. The Army was my family for 16 years, but the horticultural industry and community has made me feel so welcome and I feel they are my new family.

To help mark its 180th anniversary, Perennial has partnered with Irish garden designer with a show garden for RHS Flower Show Cardiff(12-14 April 2019). It is the first time the horticulture trade charity has exhibited at the show and the first time Peter (or any Irish designer) has designed there. Perennial helps and supports anyone who makes or maintains gardens, parks, sports facilities and other green spaces. The Perennial Garden at RHS Flower Show Cardiff will help spread the message that Perennial’s friendly and knowledgeable team has the experience and resources to make a difference to people’s lives, regardless of the scale of their issue or concern.

The garden has been designed by the incredible Irish Garden Designer Peter Donegan Who has created some stunning gardens.In 2018, Peter was selected by a French Jury to represent Ireland to design and realise a garden in the moat of the 13th century Chateau de Peronne, known as The Historial de la Grande Guerre, in the Somme region of Northern France.

A series of Peace Gardens (Jardin de la Paix) in very historic locations there were to be created to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1. The gardens were to be designed and realised by 14 internationally selected garden designers. The Irish WW1 Peace Garden of the Historial Péronne visited by President Emmanuel Macron Friday 9th November 2018.

The garden will be built by the amazing Burnham Landscaping Burnham Landscaping focuses on delivering high quality design led garden construction within the domestic sector. Started by Ed Burnham, who has been Landscaping since he was 20, since 2011 Ed and his team have accomplished no fewer than 13 RHS show gardens, his most recent at Chelsea Flower Show in 2018.

The garden has been made possible by the support of the horticulture industry CED Stone who are providing the hard landscaping and additional support, Oxford Planters who are providing the bespoke handmade outdoor kitchen and Hortus Loci who are providing all the plants. The Perennial Garden at RHS Flower Show Cardiff is a modern urban private garden designed to increase awareness of Perennial, the charity that helps and supports people in horticulture. It highlights the importance of recognising and addressing poor mental health in the horticulture industry, inviting show visitors to look beyond the polished exterior and imagine what challenges its owner, or creator, may be facing. Speaking about the garden and his decision to support Perennial, designer Peter Donegan says:

“In a modern world dominated by social media we can so often be fooled by an edited Instagram post or a gushing status update when many of us are struggling with physical, mental and financial challenges and burdens. Perennial helps people in horticulture manage and overcome the challenges of poor physical and mental health in an industry that demands strength and resilience. We are sure this garden will help us continue the conversation about mental health in the horticulture sector and spread the word that Perennial is here to help.”

The Perennial Garden has been designed primarily as an entertainment space with a balance of culinary features, seasonal planting and space to enjoy time relaxing with friends and family. It will have a clean, modern look and feel with crisp lines, contemporary design features and lush planting. A planted screen provides the backdrop to the garden, making the most of the small space and adding vertical planted interest. Specimen trees and a choice mix of seasonal planting complements the hard landscaping.

Anita Bates, Director of Marketing & Fundraising at Perennial says:

“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to exhibit at RHS Flower Show Cardiff and we are extremely grateful to Peter for the unwavering support he has shown Perennial over a number of years. We are here for anyone working in or retired from horticulture, forestry and arboriculture across Wales but too few people know about us. We know that people can find it hard to ask for help and thanks to The Perennial Garden we can tell show visitors about how they can support Perennial to encourage people to get in touch before their issue becomes a crisis.”

After the show, and continuing the mental health theme, the garden will be relocated to in East Sussex. Veterans’ Growth runs horticultural therapy courses for ex-service men and women who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Established in 2018 by Jason Stevens, who himself served in the British Army, the charity aims to address the shortfall in mental health services for people who have served in the armed forces. Anita continues: “Through the link with Veterans’ Growth, the Perennial Garden will come full circle. Not only does it offer us an incredible opportunity to talk to visitors about how Perennial helps people in horticulture across Wales, it will go on to provide a focus and learning tool for veterans who are having trouble readjusting to life after armed conflict. We know the positive impact gardening can have on mental health and are thrilled that this garden is going to live on after the show to help even more people.”

November 2018

November has been a great month for Veterans’ Growth, we have made great progress towards the installation of the polytunnel in January. We have been busy with the clearance of the site which required a large skip, given to us by our friendly local company French’s of Hastings, who generously responded to my email asking for help. Thank you, French’s.

We had to lay a new carpark area not just to fit more people but also to enable delivery of things to site. Gardenscape again have been massive supporters and gave us the Type 1 at a very reduced rate and they will continue to assist us when needed over the coming months. With the weather being like it has been (WET) things are taking longer than normal as we don’t want to damage the ground as it’s currently in surprisingly good shape for planting, considering it’s grazing land.

We, and I say we as the support from everyone has been amazing, from our branding and website designers and creators Cactus Patch Design to everyone that has donated to the Just Giving page, have done so much over a short time we should be proud.

October 2018

We are very excited to launch our new website and are busy putting plans together to launch the charity. Thank you to everyone who has supported us or donated so far, it is hugely appreciated. Our plan is to run our first sessions in February 2019, so please watch this space!