Taking Chelsea flower show inspiration from a refugee camp in Iraq

The creative, makeshift gardens at Domiz refugee camp have inspired Tom Massey’s show garden

Designers often travel abroad to seek inspiration for their Chelsea show gardens, but their trips don’t usually entail an arduous journey by road, passing armed border guards because the nearest airport is closed.

Tom Massey visited Domiz camp in northern Iraq earlier this year to find out how refugees are carving out makeshift gardens, in the hope of bringing some of that spirit of inventiveness to a Main Avenue Chelsea plot. It was an eye-opener for him, showing how people who arrived with nothing have recreated a tiny slice of their lives back home, mostly in Syria. “They are thrown together, given a basic shelter. It was humbling to see how important gardening and growing is to them and how much benefit green space gives,” he says.


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