Sussex

Chelsea Flower Show: 'Modern slavery' garden design wins gold

Gardener Juliet Sargeant at Chelsea Flower Show Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gold award winner Juliet Sargeant has previously called for more diversity in horticulture

A garden inspired by the fight against "modern slavery" and the abolitionism movement has scooped gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Juliet Sargeant took gold with a garden that celebrates the day parliament passed The Modern Slavery Act in 2015.

It features several doors and an oak - representing captivity and the tree William Wilberforce sat beneath when he vowed to help end the slave trade.

She is thought to be the first black gardener to design a Chelsea display.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Juliet Sargeant showed Princess Eugenie round the garden on Monday
Image copyright RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Image caption The dark centre is said to represent captivity with the oak tree standing for hope

She won the gold award in the Fresh Gardens category.

'Increase diversity'

The Tanzania-born gardener, who is based in Brighton, said the idea behind her design was the "brain child of a group of people who have been campaigning to raise awareness of modern slavery".

"I wanted to emphasise that it is a hidden crime, behind closed doors, so in the garden there are brightly coloured doors, with a ribbon of planting wrapping all four sides," she added.

"Then in the centre of the garden the doors are painted black. That represents the captive space where people are held in terrible conditions without any pay."

According to Ms Sargeant hope stands in the form of an oak tree, as "it was under such an oak that William Wilberforce stood when he dedicated his life to ending slavery".

Ms Sargeant, who has previously called for more diversity in horticulture, said: "We're missing a trick and we're missing the opportunity to have lots of different perspectives and different creativity.

"I look forward to seeing the fruits of the efforts being made, particularly by the Royal Horticultural Society, to increase diversity.

"Hopefully we'll see an increase in diversity on television."

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