Gold At Chelsea For First Touch Garden

Created to recognise work of St George's neonatal unit charity

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A garden created to recognise the work of First Touch, the neonatal unit charity at St George’s Hospital, has been awarded a gold medal at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Designed by landscape architect Patrick Collins, the First Touch Garden was one of six recipients of the gold medal in the ‘Best Fresh Garden’ category.

The concept of the garden is inspired by cells, the building blocks of life; a reminder that all life starts from extremely small beginnings. The planting and other elements reflect the underlying theme of growth and transition, with similar forms expressed in a range of sizes. Water also plays a significant part in the garden, and takes the form of circular, reflective pools.

The design of the garden and labour to construct it was given free of charge, and the plants, hard landscaping and decoration were donated or loaned. All materials will be recycled or reused after the show.

Patrick’s own daughter, Isabel, was born prematurely and was cared for at St George’s in 2001. Patrick’s wife, Sarah, now works for First Touch as the charity’s director.

Patrick said:
"Isabel was born three months early, so I know first hand how incredible the neonatal unit at St George's is, and how amazing the nursing staff and doctors there are. I really wanted to raise awareness of the life saving work taking place at the neonatal unit, which is supported by First Touch."

Celebrity patrons of First Touch also visited the garden to show their support, including TV presenters Ortis Deley and Chris Jarvis, newsreader and presenter Sophie Raworth and Ashling McCloy, writer and style expert.

Celebrity patrons of First Touch also visited the garden: (l-r) Ashling McCloy, writer and style expert, Ortis Deley, presenter, Sophie Raworth, BBC newsreader and Chris Jarvis, children’s TV presenter

Sarah said:
“It has been truly amazing to have our garden awarded a gold medal at such a prestigious event. The garden also had a royal visit from Her Majesty The Queen, so it really has topped off a wonderful week. The garden was inspired by the hard work and dedication of the doctors, nurses and all other staff on the neonatal unit. It has also allowed us to highlight the important work of First Touch, which raises money for vital equipment, specialist nurse development and support for families whilst they are on the neonatal unit.”

To find out more about the work of First Touch, visit

May 24, 2013