Following her success at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015, award-winning garden designer Ruth Willmott has returned this year with a special garden created for the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now.

Tuesday 23 May 2017      General
Photo: In The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Victoria Derbyshire, Dr Cristina Branco, Ruth Willmott, Professor Andrew Tutt and Baroness Delyth Morgan

Photo - In The Breast Cancer Now Garden: (Left to right) Victoria Derbyshire, Dr Cristina Branco, Ruth Willmott, Professor Andrew Tutt and Baroness Delyth Morgan

The garden, called ‘The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope’, is inspired by the work of Breast Cancer Now’s researchers. Breast Cancer Now is dedicated to funding research into breast cancer.

The garden draws inspiration from the work of breast cancer researchers working in the lab, in particular looking through microscopes in their goal to stop breast cancer taking more lives. The garden is laid out with three vertical circles as microscope lenses, which are aligned to focus on a black microscope slide at the back of the garden and a circle of magnified healthy cells. The planting scheme and circular cell shapes illustrate the idea of ‘magnification’. The planting and cell shapes increase in size from front to back of the garden with similarities in form, shape and colour.

Watch the timelapse video of the garden being built

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. One in eight women will face it in their lifetime. Nearly 700,000 people living in the UK have experienced a diagnosis.

Ruth Willmott, lost her sister-in-law Angela to triple negative breast cancer in March 2014. With this garden, Ruth is aiming to raise awareness of breast cancer, but also raise awareness of Breast Cancer Now’s vital research and what the charity is doing to stop this devastating disease taking more lives in the future.

At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Official Press Day today, Ruth was joined at the garden by Breast Cancer Now Chief Executive, Baroness Delyth Morgan; Professor Andrew Tutt, Director of the Breast Cancer Now Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research; and Dr Cristina Branco, a Breast Cancer Now Scientific Fellow.

BBC journalist and broadcaster, Victoria Derbyshire, also visited the garden. Victoria was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and through her treatment recorded video diaries to try to help demystify what it’s like to have a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Her films have been viewed millions of times.

Victoria Derbyshire said:

“The Breast Cancer Now garden gives RHS Chelsea visitors a wonderful, visual understanding of the research undertaken by hundreds of Breast Cancer Now scientists in the UK and Ireland each day.

“I have visited the Breast Cancer Now Research Centre at the ICR and was truly inspired by the work I saw and the scientists I met. Breast Cancer Now is determined to stop women dying of breast cancer and the research that the charity is funding really is providing hope for future generations.

“Ruth’s garden represents the charity’s aim beautifully and I feel very privileged to have seen the garden today.”

Ruth Willmott, designer and creator of ‘The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope’, said:

“For me, gardening and nature have such power to heal, and creating a second garden to support Breast Cancer Now has once again felt like a form of positive action since losing Angela.

“But also, this experience has given me the opportunity to look deeper into the cause, and raise awareness of the incredible breast cancer research that is being undertaken across the UK.

“I hope this garden provides individuals and families effected by breast cancer with the hope that research will one day stop this heart-breaking disease taking the lives of those we love. If we all continue to stand together, supporting life-saving research, we will beat breast cancer once and for all.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Now, said:

“We are delighted that Ruth, with the support of donors and sponsors, has created a second garden for Breast Cancer Now. It is wonderful to see the finished garden, here at the Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

“As a charity, we’re bringing together all those affected by breast cancer to improve the way we prevent, detect, treat and stop the disease. Ruth’s garden is a beautiful interpretation of some of the research our scientists are undertaking, so we can move from a time when people fear breast cancer to a generation where everybody lives and lives well.

“Breast cancer touches the lives of millions of people in the UK. Right now, more women are being diagnosed with the disease than ever before and nearly 1,000 women in the UK die from breast cancer every month.

“Breast Cancer Now believes that if we all act now, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. Together, with the help of our wonderful supporters, we can make that happen.”

More information

‘The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope’ is exhibiting in the Fresh Garden category (Stand FR89) at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week 23 - 27 May 2017.

All the plants and trees used in the garden will be available to buy on Saturday 27 May 2017 to raise funds for Breast Cancer Now.