Those of us with multiple sclerosis know how difficult it is to describe our journey. Words frequently are inadequate for that task. But, at Derby College in England, horticulture students and their instructors have found a way.
They’ve teamed up with local MS Society branches to create a 30-foot-by-40-foot garden called “Journey to Hope.”
The garden illustrates the journey those of us with MS make, starting with being diagnosed and continuing through the twists and turns of living with the disease. Vibrant colors appear at the garden’s entrance to illustrate life before MS. But, cross a bridge that represents the period of MS diagnosis and the color scheme becomes bland.
It’s a garden of contrasts, according to horticulture lecturer Mike Baldwin. There are both soft flowering plants and spiky thistles to show the difference between the good and bad days experienced by people living with MS.
The garden features “cool” colors to contrast with the nasty heat that we want to avoid. A hedge sits on top of a mesh fence, illustrating how someone with MS can feel trapped by the disease. A fiberglass cave signifies a safe area where patients can find help and support. A waterfall illustrates hope and quality of life.
“Our goal is to raise awareness of the work of The Multiple Sclerosis Society and the challenges, anger, pain and frustration facing more than 100,000 people affected by the neurological condition in the UK,” Baldwin says in a news release from the college.
More than 50 Derby College students are involved in the project, beginning work a year ago. The designers believe the results will be “striking.”
“The design is very powerful signifying the highs and lows of the condition,” Peter Milner, MSS Derby and District group leader, said. “I know it will resonate with people who are living with, or caring for, someone with MS.”
The “Journey to Hope” garden will be exhibited and judged at the BBC’s Gardeners’ World Live 2017 at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre in June.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.