Northern Ireland

Chelsea Flower Show features Mallusk man's Mind Trap garden

Mind Trap garden
Image caption Mind Trap garden tells the story of Ian Price's experience living with depression

It is to the horticultural industry what the catwalks of Paris and Milan are to the fashion industry.

But at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show the gardens are the stars.

They are conceived months in advance and assembled at the Royal Hospital site only weeks before the event.

Among them this year is one called Mind Trap - by Ian Price from Mallusk, County Antrim. The garden tells the story of Ian's experience living with depression.

"Its purpose is to help those that suffer in similar ways to be assured that they are not alone in their own personal struggles," he said.

'Foreboding place'

He is the first designer from Northern Ireland to create a garden at the show for many years.

At its centre, this garden is a dark foreboding place. It features a pool with water which is dyed black so onlookers don't know the depth.

The planting inside the four huge central walls is sparse and virtually colourless.

"The walls are hugely symbolic, as they can create a feeling of security, as well as feel like a prison, depending on your perception," Ian said.

Image caption Ian (right), with BBC NI's David Maxwell, said the Chelsea experience has been a tough one, but he hopes it will not be his last

From the centre the onlooker has four possible ways to exit towards more lush and colourful planting.

"This is symbolic of the choices that we make to help us to get better and that some of those paths may not be the right path to take to improve our mental health," Ian said.

Ian's first RHS show was at Tatton Park in 2014. He said the Chelsea experience has been a tough one, but he hopes it will not be his last.

"Well, I suppose I can say this is both my most relaxed and my most stressful Chelsea to date given I have only done it once," he joked.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge talks with Ian Price at his garden "Mind Trap" at the Chelsea Flower Show in London

Ian studied Landscape and Garden a Design at Writtle University College in England and some students currently doing the same course assisted with planting the Mind Trap garden.

As celebrities, visitors and the resident Chelsea pensioners watch on, Ian's biggest hope is that his garden will help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

"There is no shame about suffering and it is ok not to be ok," he said.

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