Mementos, including marbles, buttons and over a hundred other curiosities line the walls and inhabit the flower borders of designer Gary Bristow’s Macmillan Legacy Garden.

The garden tells the story of a fictional couple and the legacy they left behind through objects they loved. It will be on display at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival from 9th – 12th May.

Featuring a planting scheme of perennials, bulbs and self-seeding plants, the garden is inspired by the significance of legacy donations to Macmillan Cancer Support – which receives over a third of its income through gifts left in wills.


Garden designer, Gary Bristow, said: “The memorabilia built into the garden tells the story of a fictional couple – one an artist and one a photographer – using objects from their lifetime’s collection.”


“I wanted this garden to be an immersive celebration of life and to draw attention to the importance of legacies as a concept.”


Gary was moved to create the garden for Macmillan after his family were supported by the charity during his grandmother’s cancer diagnosis.

“Macmillan is a charity that’s close to my heart because my grandmother received support from a Macmillan nurse in her last few weeks of life,” said Gary. “Her nurse was warm, loving, caring and helped the whole family during the experience.”

“The garden includes an area of white planting to represent the challenges of a cancer diagnosis, when life can seem to lose its colour. The garden develops into more colourful and tactile planting, expressing the warmth and energy Macmillan’s support provides.”


The Macmillan Legacy Garden also contains totem pole sculptures of different materials and sizes. These highlight that, regardless of shape or size, gifts in wills are all of vital importance to Macmillan Cancer Support.


Ruthie Coverdale, Macmillan Cancer Support Senior Legacy Promotions Manager said:

“Gary’s garden is a touching reminder that legacies can be beautiful and make a real impact for other people. Many of us think about what the world will be like when we’re no longer around to enjoy it. We hope our garden will serve as a safe space in which visitors can consider their own death and how they want to be remembered.”


“Gifts in wills raised over £80 million pounds last year for Macmillan and these crucial funds ensure we can be right there with people living with cancer.”


Head of Shows, Diana Walton, said the team felt privileged to provide a platform for such a poignant, inspirational and beautiful garden:


“We really value our role in supporting show garden designs like this which highlight such important issues and raise awareness of charities which truly do make a real difference.


“In designing this garden Gary has created something that is both spectacular and sensitively encourages more openness about a difficult topic to help people in a positive way. It is a wonderful garden and we are delighted it will be on show at RHS Malvern Spring Festival this year.”


Macmillan is almost entirely funded by public donations and gifts left in wills are vital in helping the charity to support everyone – regardless of age, location or their cancer type.

For more information on how you can leave a legacy for Macmillan Cancer Support visit

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