The CHERUB HIV Garden was conceived by Professor John Frater from the University of Oxford, and his colleagues from the CHERUB Collaboration. It was designed by landscape and garden designed Naomi Ferrett-Cohen.
'The Royal Chelsea Flower Show garden publicises the perspective and experiences of the children and young people living with HIV who aren't able to speak publicly about them.' - Bakita Kasadha – HIV activist and CHIVA Associate
The theme centres on a young person living with HIV and the journey they face, exploring stigma and marginalisation. The white pod at the top of the garden represents the NHS clinics the young people attend, a cocoon of safety from the outside world.
The journey from the pod through the garden shows the journey towards a life of more freedom, and the obstacles encountered along the way. The path through the planting is interrupted by three dark obstructing walls. Each wall is difficult to pass and is inscribed with words that young people growing up with HIV have chosen to describe how they feel about the stigma, secrecy and the daily struggles they face.
The end of the journey is an open seating area, symbolising a society where these young people are accepted without prejudice and feel happy and confident to open up about their HIV, without fear of judgement. Hear from Bakita Kasadha – HIV activist and CHIVA Associate - who discusses living with HIV and the Garden at Chelsea.
Images: Ian Wallman