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East End gardeners wow the crowds at Chelsea

PUBLISHED: 13:21 25 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:04 05 October 2010

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

HOMELESS people from the East End have helped create the biggest ever garden at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show which was unveiled to the public today. Gardeners from Bethnal Green based Providence Row Housing Association, Crisis Skylight in Aldgate

HOMELESS people from the East End have helped create the biggest ever garden at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show which was unveiled to the public today.

Gardeners from Bethnal Green based Providence Row Housing Association, Crisis Skylight in Aldgate and Look Ahead in Whitechapel helped make a 50 square metre plot within the 590 square metre Places of Change garden.

Homeless people and prisoners on day release have created the biggest garden ever seen at the Chelsea Flower Show.

In all 500 people supported by 43 homelessness agencies and 50 inmates from eight prisons teamed up with gardeners from the Eden Project in Cornwall to grow and plant the garden, led by award-winning designer Paul Stone.

They include Brick Lane based Paul Pulford, known as Scruffy, who is a former heroin addict who turned his life around through gardening.

He has led a 15-strong team from East London growing plants at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and designing the forest garden.

Mr Pulford said: "Everything has been grown or recycled. It is so natural it is already swarming with insects and birds "Working on this project has helped the team out immensely. Morale has really gone up. Gardening has healed me and healed other members of the team.

"I was depressed for 25 years but now I'm happy because I get to go out to play every day. I love gardening with wild flowers. Life is brilliant for me at the moment. We've spent 2,000 man hours on this garden. Blood, sweat and tears. But every moment has been worth it.

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