The garden song

Horatio’s Garden is named after Horatio Chapple, who was a volunteer at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre, Salisbury, in his school holidays.

Horatio and his father David Chapple – a spinal surgeon at Salisbury Hospital – came up with the idea for a garden and Horatio drew up a questionnaire to find out what the patients wanted.

Tragically, Horatio was killed at the age of 17 by a polar bear. There followed an outpouring of love and goodwill – and donations flooded in for his garden to be created.

Cleve West designed the first Horatio’s Garden. He was the perfect man for the job. He knew the spinal centre well because his best friend had been a patient there – and Cleve was winner of the Best in Show at Chelsea in 2011 (he went on to win again in 2012).

Cleve used Horatio’s patient research as the starting point for the design and then listened to the views of everyone involved – patients, nurses, therapists, doctors, managers… he even asked us to take him around the site in a hospital bed and a wheelchair to get a patient’s perspective.

Horatio’s Garden opened in Salisbury in September 2012. In 2015 Cleve won three Society of Garden Designers Awards for the designs.

Following the enormous success of the first Horatio’s Garden, exemplified in patient questionnaires and feedback, the charity was set up to create Horatio’s Gardens nationally at the other ten regional spinal injury centres in the UK. Horatio’s Garden Scotland opened in September 2016 and Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville will open in 2017.

“Being outside in a beautiful garden changed everything for me during my long stay in hospital after I was paralysed.”