The Path of Life Garden
This garden was born from the ideas that a group of people using the service ‘brain-stormed’.
One word that came up many times was therapeutic. However, on further exploration it was felt that the whole site offered therapeutic properties. We wanted the new space to have something extra that would tell people about our project. Staying on this theme we explored the idea of developing an area which not only reflected the ethos of the project but captured the experience of mental illness. We wanted to make it personal, powerful and safe.
During the winter we held several planning workshops looking at how our experiences could be metamorphosed into a garden. At times we felt overwhelmed by the ideas that were put forward by the groups. As a result of this work we now have the “Path of Life” garden which comprises a serpentine path running through a garden planted using colour, texture and habit which reflects and evokes a mood. This in turn symbolises the journey that people have to make from crisis to recovery.
We commence with charred wood, dark slate, plants struggling to survive, thorny foliage and a hostile environment. As we move along the path the process of recovery begins, again this is reflected in the choice of planting. The garden concludes with a circular pergola surrounded with lush yellow, green and white planting which people felt symbolised joy / peace / contentment. Individuals can decide what the end of the journey would be for them.
Creative planting is only part of what makes the garden special. Workshops have been held to explore the art and poetry that is to be included. The people at TWIGS who have an interest in craft have developed the three main pieces of sculpture together with poetry and quotes to complement the planting. We were lucky enough to secure £500 funding from the Agenda 21 grant, to help towards materials for art and hard landscaping the path.