Jo Malone Limited and the gardening charity Thrive’s Old English Garden in Battersea Park is a newly refurbished, fragrant floral retreat waiting to be discovered. You must go if you are a garden fan.
The fragrance company has funded the revival of this Battersea garden which Thrive will care for. Thrive uses practical gardening to help transform the lives of disabled people and has a small but fabulous gardening base in the park. The sponsorship has allowed for a new design of the walled garden by hot gardening star Sarah Price, who looked about twelve when we met her at the opening breakfast, but has won many awards, worked at Hampton Court Palace and is a Chelsea medal winner so must be a grown up.
Gardening keeps me sane, if I am having a bad day, I head to my flower beds and I weed away my stress. All gardeners understand the therapeutic benefits of being close to nature and Thrive harnesses the restorative power of gardening to help those with depression, mental and physical disabilities in a way that makes total sense to me. Of course gardening can help you feel better!
Most importantly, the Working It Out programme Thrive runs takes disabled people on a two year programme which results in a vocational gardening qualification that enables them to be better equiped for a job in the gardening world- currently short of skilled workers. The Old English Garden that Jo Malone is sponsoring is where most of the training action takes place with groups coming in daily to learn basic horticultural skills.
It’s is just the loveliest place to be and if you live near Battersea Park I urge you to go, Thrive are always looking for volunteers to water and support their full time team should this appeal (it does to me). I spoke to Thrive’s horticultural therapist Ruth Yeo who explained how so many people with disabilities have trouble getting on the job ladder because they have no practical job skills to offer an employer, the qualification they achieve with Thrive makes it possible for them to work and many ex students are now happily ensconced in jobs.
Clever Jo Malone to pick such a worth while charity to be involved with, the link to scented flora and fauna makes it a place likely to inspire new product too and we think this ticks all the boxes for big organisations giving something back to the community. Much like the Edible Bus Stop scheme we talked about recently, gardening bring communities together, it’s a friendly, inclusive activity that just makes life seem better. So gold stars all round to Jo Malone for supporting a scheme that will transform lives.
The garden, newly designed by Sarah Price and cared for lovingly by hard working Thrive associates. It’s a big space with a calm, quiet atmosphere ideal for strolling amongst the blooms.
Many of the plants in the garden are included in the Jo Malone fragrances, such as the rose above as well as a pomegranate, mint, rhubarb and many others.
Whenever we go to a Jo Malone event they always have well dressed boys dancing attendance, could this be because most beauty writers are women easily distracted by a cute face? Perish the thought, although we did lust after their floral Doc Martens.
We were invited for breakfast, which was laid out under the gazebo and featured a long central trail of flowers from the garden, the smell was heavenly.
I came away from the garden visit with a long list of plants I want to put in my garden, even though there’s no space left. The Thrive offices, just a short walk away have many plants for sale. Anyone who thinks they’d like to help out in the garden with Thrive should check out the website for details, they also have a space in Reading if that’s nearer to you.
Jo Malone products are amongst our favourites, but perfume fans should be on the look out for Rose Oud Limited Edition, on sale now and the Blackberry & Bay fragrance, which both Jane and I adore is out early autumn. Both are ideal to wear when gardening. Further details on the garden and a nice video on how it’s been transformed can be found on Jo Malone’s Facebook page