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How diabetes inspired a garden

An award-winning garden designer from Wiltshire has helped create the first ever show garden in support of Diabetes UK.


Katherine Hathaway, who runs Larkhall Studios garden design practice in Chippenham, was inspired to create The Habit of Living Garden for the 2019 RHS Malvern Spring Festival, after supporting her father, who had type 2 diabetes.

She experienced at first hand the emotional toll it took on her family. So when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Lichfield-based garden designer Karen Tatlow, whose stepdaughter has struggled with type 1 diabetes, Katherine jumped at the chance.

Katherine Hathaway said: “My dad was diagnosed in his seventies. It was a big challenge for him and for all of us. We soon discovered that diabetes is a 24/7 job – it’s forever, it’s relentless – and that can be hard to deal with. The implications of the condition, especially for peoples’ mental health, are so poorly understood. That’s why I wanted to help raise awareness.”

The two designers have worked with us to create a garden which charts the emotional and physical journey of someone living with diabetes from diagnosis to successful management of the condition.

The design is based around our brand shapes and colours. It features a dark, difficult-to-navigate pathway representing the beginning of the diabetes journey at diagnosis. This leads through to an easier, brighter pathway, with a seating area for rest, reflection and support. The planting changes from plums and purples to lighter, more optimistic shades of blues and whites, with a splash of orange.

The RHS Malvern Spring Festival takes place from Thursday, 9 May to Sunday, 12 May 2019. You can purchase tickets from their website.

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