The Body Shop
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022
We’re thrilled to be showcasing The Body Shop garden at this years RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Bought to life by botanist Jennifer Hirsch, the conceptual garden aims to send a powerful message about the destructive impact of climate change and young people’s emotional burnout from societies’ challenges.
Inspired by the new generation of changemakers and activists and their determination to change the world for the better. The garden is designed to tell a story of environmental and societal regeneration, connecting nature’s restorative abilities with young people’s resilience in the face of pressures like climate anxiety.
"Giving an activist voice and perspective to a garden, asking it to connect and engage, has been a revealing journey for me as a designer and storyteller."
Jennifer is fascinated not only by the miraculous properties of plants but also by the century’s old connection between people and plants.
She is a firm believer in the supremacy of plant and natural based skincare and has worked with The Body Shop for over six years helping to bring to life and tell the stories of the natural ingredients in our products. There was no one better to help us convey our story at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and luckily for us, Jennifer has built two medal winning gardens for RHS Chelsea Flower show and a highly commended trade stand and perfumery herb garden.
On designing the garden Jennifer said “Re:generation is a call to arms, a challenge and invitation to the visitor to join The Body Shop on the journey of wellbeing for people, businesses and our planet. Together, we can move from the devastation of burnout to the creative explosion of life that is regeneration. Gardens can have activist hearts, spark conversation, challenge sacred cows. I’m excited to hear about the different emotions the garden evokes and the experiences it gives people when they visit.”
Our plant list...
Our planting reflects the journey of devastation left in the wake of burnout to the vibrant wellbeing of regeneration.
Our eucalyptus, burnt to show special adaptations that some species have evolved to overcome and our meadow, representing the explosion of creativity that can come from regeneration as sunlight reaches and creates opportunity for new growth.
All our plants are 100% British grown regenerative ingredients...
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants in Freefolk, Hampshire is a treasure trove of perennial excess with more than 1,200 carefully selected plant varieties. Having won 24 Chelsea Flower Show Gold medals, they are RHS Master Growers.
Hardy Eucalyptus at Grafton Nursery in Worcestershire cultivate more than 60 species of eucalyptus, making this family-run nursery specialists in the selection of and growing of this genus of trees. They hold 24 RHS Gold medals.
Downderry Nursery outside Tonbridge, Kent, describe themselves accurately as ‘a very special specialist nursery’: they grow exclusively lavender and rosemary species and cultivars, propagating everything by cuttings from their own stock.
What is your favourite natural ingredient used by The Body Shop and can you share any surprising facts about it and its supplier?
This is like asking me to pick a favourite child – impossible! However, in the evolution of the re:generation garden I’ve fallen in love with adaptable, durable, effective eucalyptus all over again. From medicinal eucalyptus’ cleansing, invigorating essential oil to its quirky post-fire recovery strategies of eucalyptus from New South Wales, this family of 750+ species surprises and delights me constantly.
The Body Shop has always been outspoken on social and environmental issues. What changes do you think our society could make to ensure all people have an opportunity to make their voice heard in public life?
I am the fourth generation of strong, independent, activist women in my family. If I have learned anything from my mother, grandmother and great grandmother (not to mention my father and grandfather), it’s not to wait for society to make changes, but to step in and up, get uncomfortable, be awkward, challenging and different and create those opportunities to be heard. We’ve agitated, voted, championed and raised our voices for reproductive, voting, religious, environmental and civil rights. And we’re raising the 5th generation of radicals.
The Re:generation Garden at Chelsea Flower Show is both beautiful and confronting. What – or who - inspired you to create it?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen wildfires ravage Mediterranean environments across the globe as never before. Fires that are burning areas that haven’t burned for generations and areas that have recently burned. So the minute the team started a conversation about regeneration and the impact of stress on this new generation of activists, I knew this is the allegory I wanted to use to tell the wider story.
What is your favourite element of the garden?
The frame. And for a couple of powerful reasons.
The reinterpretation of the pergola, a classic of garden architecture, the frame enables me as a designer to tell a story across time, to take you on a journey, a progression of regeneration.
As the world’s population urbanises, more and more of us are going to see gardens through a frame (a window) rather than from within the space. Gardens and green spaces will be more iconic and important as touchstones, and at the same time how we perceive and interact with them will change. Gardens intended to be viewed as art, gardens that confront, challenge, as questions of the viewer, they may be the norm.
Jen's Top Picks
Hemp Hand Protector
In my life, you’re never further than about 5 metres from a tube of The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector. Life is tough on hands, never mind gardening and the excessive hand washing we all do post pandemic. My hands have really needed the intense nourishment that Hemp provides. I’m happy every time I reach for a tube.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is going in my Chelsea kit. Although it’s designed to tackle blemishes, applying Tea Tree to nicks and cuts is my gardener’s ‘off label’ trick to help prevent infection. Did you know that Australian servicemen in World War II were issued with tea tree oil? I figure it must be good for battling garden scrapes.
Breathe Calm Balm
Breathe Calm Balm couldn’t have come along at a better time – building a RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden can be stressful. Having a little reminder to reconnect with myself, to empower my creativity through mindfulness and just breathe when things get crazy, is essential. Not to mention the hero ingredient, eucalyptus, which also features in The Body Shop’s Re:Generation garden.
Peppermint Foot Scrub
The Peppermint Reviving Pumice Foot Scrub buffs away the hard skin that comes with the unrelenting torture I put my tootsies through. It also happens to be the perfect product for scrubbing out the resistant gardening grime and dirt on my hands. It was an accidental discovery, but one that has me addicted to the multitasking efficacy of the foot scrub.