The garden is filled with plants popular in the 1960s and 1970s to comfort people with dementia
Cheshire-based designers Jane Bingham and Penny Hearn are creating a garden filled with features that will help people suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairment.
The “Remember Me” garden, in support of the Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity, also aims to inspire visitors with ideas to help friends or relatives with the disease by making gardens more personal for them.
Department of Health figures in 2016 suggested there are 676,000 people living with dementia or a cognitive impairment in England alone, with symptoms including anxiety and frustration at having difficulty remembering recent events.
With research showing that older memories are easier to reclaim and can bring comfort to people with dementia as they are returned to something familiar to them, the garden uses planting and other features to help jog old memories.
The plants used are reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s. They are not necessarily fashionable today, but their scents and shapes would be instantly recognisable to the generation which many dementia sufferers are from.
Plants in the garden include buddleja, mop head hydrangeas, dahlia, dianthus, delphinium, nasturtium, antirrhinum and lavatera.
Mrs Bingham said: “We've harked back to the 1960s and 1970s particularly.
The garden was designed by Jane Bingham and Penny Hearn
“Many people being diagnosed now with dementia will have been young, with young families, during that time and will have had their own garden
“We have included plants which will be instantly recognisable – the look of them, the smell of them."
She added: “Fragrance can transport someone back in time instantly to a moment.
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“For example, if I smell the scent of buddleja, I am straight away taken back to my childhood home in the 1970s when buddlejas were covered in butterflies: red admirals, tortoiseshells and peacocks.
“We played under the garden hose surrounded by its heady scent.“
The garden will also include a memory shed called the 'room of inklings' with interactive art displays based on 'rummage drawers' which are used as a tool in hospitals to calm patients and remind them of typical activities.
There will be a display of bottles and glasses filled with items such as marbles and seashells, which people could complement with items from the past of their friend or relative with dementia.
The garden's landscaping aims to allow people to wander around without feeling trapped and avoids materials such as shiny surfaces they might struggle to process.
It is designed to support the Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity's £1.5 million appeal to improve the environment at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's Leighton Hospital in Crewe for patients with dementia or other cognitive impairment.
Leighton Hospital will receive recycled garden elements from RHS Tatton, as they are developing a future garden for dementia sufferers, while the plants will be sold off at the end of the show to raise money for the charity.