The first Horatio’s Garden opened in 2012 at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment at Salisbury Hospital. Designed by award-winner, Cleve West, Horatio’s Garden has transformed the patients’ hospital stays.
Patients can take part in activities in the garden organised by the charity, including garden therapy, art therapy, food events and music concerts. Regular sculpture exhibitions create a focus of interest and change. Just having a quiet moment, or a cup of tea and a slice of home made cake in the garden, with family or friends, can be such a tonic.
The second Horatio’s Garden, designed by James Alexander-Sinclair, opened in 2016 at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow which cares for patients from across Scotland.
Joe Swift has designed the third Horatio’s Garden at The National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and building work will start this summer. The spinal centre cares for 150 newly injured patients each year including teenagers and children.
The charity has just launched the fourth appeal for The Midland Spinal Injury Centre at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital in Oswestry designed by Bunny Guinness and is also working with the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore. The aim is to bring Horatio’s Gardens to all the UK’s 11 regional specialist spinal centres.
All the gardens have a common design briefs – they need to be very beautiful and totally accessible to patients in beds an wheelchairs. In each garden the hard landscaping is carefully designed to create a totally level surface which does not create any challenges to patients.
The designers are asked to create a social area for gatherings and events, private areas for peace and privacy, a garden therapy area, a greenhouse and where possible a children’s play area. Each garden has a architect designed garden room for patients to use the space in any weather. The garden room has a kitchen area and is away from the ward giving patients who are in hospital for months, a place that feels like home. Everything in the garden is carefully thought out to work for this group of patients who have particular needs, from the width of the paths to the heights of the tables and planters, automated doors which enable easy access for patients and the range of specialist tools.