Sparsholt College is delighted to have partnered with cancer support charity Maggie’s to design a garden display for the first BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair to be held at Beaulieu from 28-30 May.

Designed by Garden Design students at Sparsholt College, the display will take inspiration from the newly built Maggie’s in the grounds of University Hospital Southampton. The Beautiful Border display for the Beaulieu show will incorporate features of the garden at the centre on a smaller scale, including using the same plants, trees, and even materials from the centre’s building.

The garden has been titled ‘The Journey’ – symbolising the journey of those with cancer, and their family and friends, and the support that they receive from Maggie’s through the stages of diagnosis, treatment and support.



The design depicts a journey from the natural haven of a secluded New Forest woodland glade in late spring, transitioning out to an open heathland and wildflower meadow. The plants have been selected to help relieve stress and raise spirits, with a colour palette broadly based to reflect the colours of Maggie’s brand, ranging from deep reds to bright yellows and pinks.


The pine tree provides seclusion and a safe haven in which to sit quietly and maybe read a book or have a picnic, while being able to look out and appreciate feeling part of the beauty of the natural surroundings. The Pinus spp. is underplanted with Japanese acer trees, dwarf mountain pines, ferns and scented woodland flora.


The heathland and wildflower meadow is planted with grasses and brightly coloured spring flowers, with scented herbs around an additional seating place, edged with birch Betula spp. trees. It provides an uplifting and hopeful space in which one can begin to feel part of the living world again, acknowledging the journey they have been on while being prepared for the life changes ahead.


Maggie’s is a registered charity that provides free emotional, practical and social support for people with cancer and their families and friends. Maggie’s relies on voluntary donations from the local community so that our cancer support specialists, Psychologist and other specialist staff can provide this support all year round for free. The newest centre at University Hospital Southampton completed at the end of 2020 is already open and serving the communities of the south of England and the Channel Islands.

The centre is a warm and welcoming place, with professional staff on hand to offer the support people need to find their way through cancer. Maggie’s is a place to find practical advice about benefits and eating well; a place where qualified experts provide emotional support; a place to meet other people or simply to sit quietly with a cup of tea.



I am extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity to design a border for Maggie’s and to help promote the fantastic work that they do. It’s great to get to put the garden design skills and knowledge learnt at Sparsholt to real use. – Liz, Garden Design Student