A show garden inspired by a charity which supports bereaved Armed Forces families was voted the best by visitors to one of the country’s most prestigious horticultural events.
Created in honour of charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers, ‘Buds That Bloom’ won the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Sandringham Flower Show,
Designed by Suse and Andy Crook, who run ABC Gardening in Snettisham, near Kings Lynn, one of the garden’s centrepieces was an area containing artificial grass which was created specifically for the use of children whose fathers or mothers have died in the service of their country.
This part of the garden was made possible thanks to a donation by Grass Direct, the UK's largest artificial grass supplier, as part of its corporate social responsibility programme.
Suse said: “Each year we select a cause and this year we decided it simply had to be Scotty’s, a local charity close to our hearts which does incredible things supporting bereaved Armed Forces families in the UK.
“We asked the children of Scotty’s Little Soldiers to come up with a name for the garden and they chose Buds that Bloom, which we thought perfectly summed up its aim.
“The garden was designed for predominantly single-parent families who require something which is low maintenance, so everything was done with this in mind.
“We used the artificial grass to create a fun play area for the children, which included a basketball hoop, magnetic play boards and blackboard.”
Suse and Andy were delighted when their garden won the "People’s Choice” award in the large garden category.
Suse added: “The fact this was voted for by visitors to the show meant everything to us. They clearly understood what we were trying to do with the garden, and we were over the moon with the reaction.
“We had funding pulled at the last minute so having bought artificial grass from Grass Direct before we approached them to see if they would help, and it meant so much when they donated the grass we wanted free of charge.
“The play area was one of the centrepieces of the garden and it wouldn’t have been the same without the artificial grass because we needed an area which was low maintenance which would bring lots of joy to families.”
Ian Robinson, Regional Manager of the Grass Direct store in Coventry which donated the 4m x 5m cut of grass to ABC, said: “When we were contacted by Suse and Andy and found about the Scotty’s Little Soldiers garden, we were only too happy to help.
“The charity does amazing work supporting bereaved children and families and we’re delighted to have been able to play our own very small part in the garden’s success.”
Suse and Andy are now selling the materials used in the garden, including the grass, and all proceeds will go to Scotty’s Little Soldiers. They are also donating a poignant memory tree with heart shaped keyrings hanging from the branches. These contained heartfelt messages from Scotty’s Little Soldiers members to the parent they lost.
"The charity does amazing work supporting bereaved children and families and were delighted to have been able to play our own very small part in the gardens success."