Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice to home RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024 ‘Grief Kind’ garden

Categories: Care.

National healthcare charity Sue Ryder is set to explore the theme of grief with a sensory garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024.

The garden, designed by award winning designer Katherine Holland, has been inspired by the charity’s Grief Kind movement and will provide a safe and peaceful sanctuary in which to sit and be enveloped in the beauty of nature, whilst encouraging visitors to share their experiences of grief or to take a moment for quiet reflection.

Following the show, the garden will be relocated in its entirety to Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger. Its new location will provide a long-lasting legacy, as a dedicated space for grieving and will be able to accommodate varying mobility needs including wheelchairs and will offer a place of solace for hospice staff, patients, their families and the local community.

As the garden’s forever home will be in Bedfordshire, Katherine has taken inspiration from the area’s history in lace production, using some of the organic shapes from the famous Midlands ‘Bud’ lace, to create the designs for the planting borders and the York stone paving in the garden.

Allison Mann, Service Director at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said: “The Sue Ryder Grief Kind Garden will be such a wonderful addition to the Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice grounds, offering a sanctuary for our patients, visitors, volunteers and staff.

“I know so many people already see the outdoor space we have as a place of quiet and reflection, so for us to have an RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden specifically designed for people to take a quiet moment and share experiences of grief is really special.”

The Sue Ryder Grief Kind garden, sponsored by Project Giving Back, will be part of the ‘All About Plants’ category at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024.

To ensure year-round interest, Katherine has carefully selected a range of sensory perennial plants and a number of unusual specimen trees including Heptacodium miconioides which has deep green foliage and pretty clusters of scented flowers in late summer; Rhamnus asplenifolia with its filigree lace foliage and a multi-stemmed form of Tilia henryana which has textural leaves and fragrant flowers.

The heart of the garden features a welcoming meeting space with three chairs set around a coffee table. During show week the table will feature a rotating display of personal objects from Katherine and some of Sue Ryder’s garden volunteers. The objects will symbolise loved ones who have died and the space highlights the importance of starting conversations around loss and grief with others.

With 86% of people who have been bereaved saying they felt alone in their grief, the charity and Katherine hope that visitors to the Grief Kind Garden at the show, and in its future home in Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, will be able to meet grief with warmth and compassion.

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, says: “Sue Ryder is delighted to be working with Katherine Holland on this exciting opportunity with Project Giving Back at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024.

“We firmly believe that together, we can make sure everyone has access to the right support, at the right time, so no one has to face grief alone. We hope that visitors to our Grief Kind Garden will reflect on their own or others’ grief by connecting with this space. We hope people leave it feeling confident to start open conversations about grief and having a better understanding of what good grief support looks like.”

Katherine Holland, designer of the Sue Ryder Grief Kind Garden, commented: “The Sue Ryder Grief Kind campaign is one that is so close to my heart. My own experiences of grief and other people’s misunderstanding of it, has made me want grief to be talked about more openly, to help support those who are grieving and those who are close to them.

“At the RHS Hampton Court Show, we found so many people connected with the space and shared their stories of grief with us, highlighting a real need to discuss it. So, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I really wanted to build upon the conversations we started about grief using the medium of plants.

I hope the Sue Ryder Grief Kind Garden will encourage people to have these very important conversations around grief, whilst surrounded by nature and see it as a place of solace to help to learn to live with grief.”

Sue Ryder offers a range of bereavement support services, so that everyone can access advice and support for themselves, or a loved one, including free online counselling sessions and an online bereavement community.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place between 21 – 25 May 2024 and will be showcasing an array of amazing garden designs and floral displays, including the Sue Ryder Grief Kind Garden.

For information on the Sue Ryder Grief Kind Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show please visit



About Sue Ryder:

At Sue Ryder, we can’t make life’s most difficult moments easy, but we can carry some of the load. For more than 70 years, we have been a source of strength and support for anyone living with a life-limiting illness or grief.

Dying and grief are universal experiences, but too many people face them alone. We are a safe and reassuring hand you can reach for. From providing care and support for someone at the end of their life to helping someone manage their grief, we know there is no one size fits all when it comes to how we cope and the help we need.

We campaign for everyone who is approaching the end of their life or grieving to have access to the right support, at the right time. And we seek to break down the barriers to talking about dying and grief – so we can all be better prepared and better equipped to be there for each other.

We can make a positive difference during even the darkest of times. Whether in the last months, weeks or days of life, or living with grief, we help people live the best life they possibly can. We are there when it matters.


About Katherine Holland

Katherine is a garden designer who combines her passion for strong design and beautiful planting to create bespoke, wildlife-friendly gardens for spaces of all kinds. She believes that everyone deserves a joyful garden unique to their circumstances. Having grown up near Marlborough, she now works with clients across Wiltshire, London and surrounding areas.

As a child, Katherine was constantly in the family garden – and through this, her passion for gardening, and more recently garden design, was born.

After studying Maths at university she began working life as a financial risk manager. However, life ultimately led Katherine to follow her dreams and retrain – she studied for her garden design diploma at the renowned London College of Garden Design based in Kew Gardens. Katherine gained invaluable experience working for one of the UK’s leading garden designers before launching her own garden design studio. To find out more:


About Project Giving Back

Project Giving Back (PGB) is a unique grant-making charity that provides funding for gardens for good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. PGB was launched in May 2021 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on UK charitable fundraising – effects that have since been exacerbated by the cost of living crisis. PGB will fund a total of 15 gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2024 and intends to fund up to 60 gardens at the show from 2022 – 2026.

Project Giving Back was established with funding from two private philanthropists who are RHS Life Members and keen gardeners. They wish to remain anonymous. PGB will help UK-based good causes recover from the unprecedented effects of the global pandemic by giving them an opportunity to raise awareness of their work for people, plants and the planet at the high-profile RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Find out more at

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