Anna Cady at Furzey Gardens

Project Info


  • Anna Cady


  • Furzey Gardens
  • Arts&Heritage
  • Arts Council

As part of Arts&Heritage’s Meeting Point programme, artist Anna Cady marks the centenary of Furzey Gardens and celebrates the work of people with learning disabilities with her on-site exhibition from Friday 29 April – 18 December 2022.

Created by artist Anna Cady, working with people from Minstead Trust, Not just a garden is an installation of films, images, and memorabilia looking at Furzey Gardens’ 100-year history and its role today as a place of support and work experience for people with learning disabilities. 

The installation explores people and stories connected to the gardens, including English explorer and botanist, Frank Kingdon-Ward, who was a plant hunter for Furzey Gardens in the 1920s. Using letters, stamps, maps and other ephemera, visitors can discover stories connected to Kingdon-Ward’s travels and his role in Furzey Gardens’ history.

The installation includes cyanotype prints, referencing the type of photography used by Frank Kingdon-Ward. A gallery of cyanotypes made by people with learning disabilities are on display in Furzey Gardens’ tea rooms, alongside pictures showing them being created.

Short films inspired by the gardens and their history are installed in the attic of Furzey Gardens’ 16th century cottage, including one made with people with learning disabilities celebrating their gardening skills, and their great success in winning the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee RHS Gold Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2012.

In the cottage garden, Anna has installed interactive ‘sound pots’ that contain stories recorded by the people that work at Furzey.

“The reason we’ve called the exhibition, Not just a garden is because Furzey Gardens is also about the people, they’re the ones that make it such a special and inspiring place.

“It was so important to work in collaboration with the people that look after the gardens to create the installation. I knew I wanted to use a technique that would give people the freedom to unleash their creativity and make something they could be proud of.

“Cyanotypes produce such beautiful colours and they provide an instant magic as the image appears on the paper. It seemed the perfect artform for us to explore the gardens and be creative together.” – Anna Cady

Furzey Gardens is part of Minstead Trust, which supports 220 people with learning disabilities to gain greater independence and lead fulfilled lives. Furzey Gardens celebrates its centenary in 2022. 

First developed by the Dalrymple family in the 1920s, Furzey Gardens was saved from demolition by Tim Selwood – founder of Minstead Trust – in 1972. It was established as a charitable trust in 1973 and today more than 30 people with learning disabilities and 20 volunteers work with head gardener, Pete White, to maintain the gardens and bring on plants in the nursery.

“What makes us unique is our pioneering approach to providing learning and training opportunities to people with learning disabilities. In our centenary year, we wanted to celebrate the people that help make Furzey Gardens such a special place.

Anna’s focus on collaborative working was something that really excited us because her work shows what people with learning disabilities can achieve. Everyone that worked with Anna is really proud of what they’ve created and that’s an important feeling to instill in people.” – Jay Powell, Furzey Gardens

The Artist

Anna Cady is a multi disciplinary installation artist who worked in textiles before returning to University in the 1990s to study Fine Art at Winchester and Goldsmiths. She often collaborates with people who have a story to tell, a story which matters. These include It Works Both Ways, an installation of pinhole photographs and films made with Louisa who could not speak orally or move her body voluntarily, Drawing Breath, with Pauline who was living with terminal cancer, with the gardeners and conservationists at Mottisfont NT, and most recently Invisible, a short film about an older woman isolating in an attic during the pandemic.

International screenings and installations of her award winning films include Tate Modern, the Sundance Film Festival and film, live music and poetry in the James Turrell Sky Space at Tremenheere Sculpture Garden.