Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Furzey Chelsea learning disability garden recreated in New Forest

Furzey Gardens display
Image caption The Furzey Gardens exhibit at Chelsea was designed to celebrate the achievements of people with learning disabilities

A garden which won a top prize at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show has been rebuilt in Hampshire.

The exhibit was put together in 2012 by young adults with learning disabilities who receive horticultural training and residential care at Furzey Gardens.

All of the 2,500 plants have since been replanted at the gardens near Minstead in the New Forest.

Reverend Tim Selwood of Furzey Gardens said the gold medal winning garden had been "brought home".

'Magical things'

It was officially opened to the public by garden designer Chris Beardshaw.

He said: "When you take a group of individuals who are so often marginalised by society, give them the right opportunities and right resources, magical things can happen.

"It's a recreation which is as good, if not better than the original."

Image caption About 300 people attended the opening of the Furzey Garden

The Furzey Gardens group won a gold medal in what was their first entry in the Royal Horticultural Society's show.

The trainees are part of the Minstead Training Project, a charity which aims to help young people with learning difficulties to develop skills, take on new challenges and build confidence.

While most Chelsea garden displays are sold off or dismantled after the show, all the Furzey plants and a wooden sculpture centrepiece called The Lantern were saved and returned to Hampshire.

Mr Selwood said: "It was part of our lives for so long and will continue to be part of our lives."

He said the 15m by 25m (50ft by 80ft) garden will be left to mature and will help attract visitors to raise revenue for the training project.

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