Handmade sunflowers made from steel are helping to raise funds for a show garden inspired by Lichfield’s St Giles Hospice at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
The sunflowers will form part of an installation in the ‘Moments that Matter’ Show Garden at the four day festival taking place in May, which attracts over 100,000 people annually.
Award-winning garden designer Karen Tatlow commissioned the flowers, which are made of corten steel – a metal with a natural, pre-weathered rust-like appearance – from local welding company A.T. Services.
The funds raised through the sale of the sunflowers will be split with fifty percent going to help build the show garden and fifty percent to St Giles Hospice.
Karen said: “It’s unbelievable how many sunflowers have already been sold – everyone seems to really like the idea and so many more have said they are going to get theirs.”
“Some people who claim they are completely hopeless gardeners have joked that even they can’t kill these flowers off.
“We are hoping to sell 500 of the metal sunflowers to make an amazing art installation in the show garden that will really get people talking.
“But if we sell that many it will also represent an amazing contribution from the local community, both towards St Giles Hospice and towards making this garden happen for them.”
Once the festival is over, the garden will be brought back to the hospice, which will be rebuilt plant by plant, along with the sunflower installation.
Rob Tunnah, director and owner of A.T. Services, said they were delighted to be supporting the project.
“A.T. Services is a welding, fabrication and engineering company and we can make more or less anything for anyone, but I must admit the sunflowers are a bit different for us,” he said.
“We are a family business, established over 32 years ago by my father Andy and five generations of our family have lived in Whittington, where the hospice is, so we are very happy to be contributing to our local community.
“It’s very different from our normal work, which generally involves sheets of metal, not petals, and it’s been a challenge but we’ve really enjoyed being part of it and look forward to seeing the garden in bloom.”
The sunflowers can be purchased online from the St Giles Hospice Show Garden website, with local business Whittington Newsagents offering to process the purchase online for anyone who doesn’t have internet access.