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About the garden

The ‘Muscular Dystrophy UK – Forest Bathing Garden’ is an accessible, immersive forest bathing experience featuring more than 50 birch trees

4,000 plants, the majority of which have been selected for their beautiful foliage, create a green tapestry that is rich in texture, with an occasional burst of colour. The plants have been supplied by Kelways and the trees by Deepdale.

Forest bathing, otherwise known as Shinrin-yoku, is an ancient Japanese practice of spending time in the forest and soaking up its atmosphere through the senses. The garden seeks to create a sheltered space for its visitors – to give comfort and clarity, reconnect with oneself and nature, or accommodate conversation with others.

“The garden concept of forest bathing entices people living with a muscle wasting condition to experience the benefits of nature, whether exploring or using it as a place for contemplation. As a family we love the outdoors and use nature to show our daughter josie that despite having ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy she can enjoy all that nature offers”
Charlotte, mother to Josie aged seven

Visitors access the garden through an accessible path that follows a slow-moving naturalised water stream. At the heart of the garden is a central meeting hub with informal seating and sculptural knapped flint walls that will provide a sheltered space for people to meet. The random knapped flint pattern was chosen by Ula due to its beautiful texture and form that is reminiscent of muscle cells.

A key feature of the garden is a large bungaroosh-style wall, which will be made using modular steelwork sections filled with a mix of reclaimed and recycled materials such as large stone blocks, slate tiles, and bricks. This building technique was chosen to showcase how a beautiful and contemporary-looking garden structure can be created using a variety of reclaimed materials.

We’re delighted that our garden will be relocated to The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow after the RHS Chelsea Flower Show ends on Saturday 25 May.

The hospice provides care and support for people who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and we’re pleased to provide support alongside the staff there. Care and community are at the heart of both Muscular Dystrophy UK and The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, and the garden will provide a unique outdoor space for patients, their families, and the local community to benefit from.

Ula says: “It means a lot to me to know that the garden will be given a new lease of life and have a positive impact on the local community. I’m really happy and can’t wait to see it in its new home.”

Find out more about the supporters and suppliers who have helped bring our garden to life.

What is forest bathing?

Ula Maria’s design is inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, which translates to bathing in the forest atmosphere and reconnecting with nature through our senses. In return, forest bathing can offer many physical and mental health benefits such as stress relief, lowered blood pressure and improved pain threshold.

Some simple tips for practicing forest bathing are:

  • Take time to be outside and immerse yourself in a local forest setting
  • Walk slowly to encourage your heart rate and speed of thinking to do the same
  • Take in your surroundings using all of your senses 
  • Breathe deeply, take in the maximum comfortable amount of oxygen and beneficial chemicals 
  • Relax, find a spot to sit down and observe 
  • Touch the trees, do they feel differently to how they look? Explore your fingertip sense of touch 
  • Listen, can you hear the birds singing? Are you upsetting a squirrel by entering its patch? 
  • When we are quiet and still, birds and animals will start to get closer. If you’re lucky, you will become the witness of an unfolding beautiful natural play. These scenes have the power to move our hearts in surprising ways
  • Take time to immerse yourself in a forest setting. Two hours is the recommended minimum dose of forest bathing to allow our bodies the time to adjust and relax deeply. 

This information was provided by the Forest Bathing Institute

Plant list

Trees supplied by Deepdale Trees

  • Alnus glutinosa
  • Betula albosinensis ‘Fascination’
  • Betula pendula
  • Crataegus x lavallei ‘Carrierei

Shrubs and perennials suppied by Kelways

  • Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’
  • Anemonella thalictroides ‘Rosea’
  • Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’
  • Aquilegia canadensis
  • Aquilegia viridiflora ‘Chocolate Soldier’
  • Aquilegia viridiflora
  • Asarum caudatum
  • Begonia emeiensis
  • Blechnum spicant
  • Boehmeria platanifolia
  • Boehmeria sieboldiana
  • Briza media
  • Brunnera macrophylla ‘Betty Bowring’
  • Brunnera macrophylla
  • Caulophyllum thalictroides
  • Cenolophium denudatum
  • Corydalis flexuosa ‘China Blue’
  • Crataegus persimilis
  • Darmera peltata
  • Dicentra formosa
  • Digitalis lutea
  • Digitalis grandiflora
  • Dodecatheon meadia
  • Dryopteris wallichiana
  • Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’
  • Fragaria vesca
  • Geranium sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’
  • Geranium sylvaticum ‘Ice Blue’
  • Geum rivale ‘Leonard’s Variety’
  • Glaucidium palmatum
  • Hesperis matronalis var. albiflora
  • Iris sibirica ‘Perry’s Blue’
  • Iris sibirica ‘Papillion’
  • Iris sibirica ‘Dreaming Green’
  • Iris sibirica ‘Dreaming Yellow’
  • Lamium orvala
  • Lamium orvala ‘Album’
  • Lilium martagon
  • Luzula nivea
  • Melica altissima ‘Alba’
  • Monarda bradburiana
  • Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry
  • Ingram’
  • Omphalodes verna
  • Omphaloides verna ‘Alba’
  • Peltoboykinia watanabei
  • Polystichum setiferum ‘Herrenhausen’
  • Primula japonica ‘Postford White’
  • Pteridophyllum racemosum
  • Rodgersia podophylla ‘Braunlaub’
  • Rodgersia henrici
  • Rodgersia pinnata ‘Elegans’
  • Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’
  • Saruma henryi
  • Semiaquilegia adoxoides
  • Silene fimbriata
  • Tellima grandiflora ‘Rubra Group’
  • Thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’
  • Trollius x cultorum ‘New Moon’
  • Valeriana officinalis