Horatio’s Garden is a charity that creates and lovingly cares for beautiful accessible gardens in NHS spinal injury centres.
Leading garden designers develop the stunning sanctuaries for patients, creating an environment which becomes an integral part of their lives as well as those of families and friends whilst spending many months in hospital.
Spinal cord injuries are traumatic, life-changing events. Patients often have little or no access to the outside world during their hospital stay, yet research shows that being in contact with a natural environment contributes to an improved sense of wellbeing, which can have a positive impact on patient rehabilitation.
The charity’s volunteer team, led by a head gardener, keep the garden looking beautiful, help run activities for patients and contribute to the happy, uplifting atmosphere which permeates Horatio’s Gardens. All our volunteers share an enjoyment of being in the garden, some are former patients and some are young ‘Volunteens’ seeking life experiences.
Horatio’s Gardens provide patients with somewhere to find much-needed solace in an oasis of planting even if on bed rest; the garden is accessible for all. Patients can take part in gentle rehabilitation activities in the gardens organised by the charity, including garden therapy, art therapy and music events.
An essential part of the atmosphere in the gardens is created by the sharing of cups of tea and home made cakes with patients, family or friends, volunteers and staff. Horatio’s Gardens are places where positive conversation and kindness is central.
“The first time I went into the garden I was overwhelmed with tears and a sense of relief and excitement that there was somewhere to go other than the ward.”
The charity’s head gardeners, assisted by volunteers, run regular garden therapy sessions with patients in collaboration with the occupational therapy team. Patients enjoy the purposeful activities which gardening offers for rehabilitation.
Patient-specific therapeutic and rehabilitative goals are set which focus on maximising social, cognitive, physical and psychological functioning to enhance general health and wellness.
Weather permitting, sessions are run outside and engage patients in all aspects of plant cultivation using specialist tools. Nothing is left to
waste – we eat, re-use and sell our produce which adds to patients’ feelings of purpose, pride and success.
Equipped with new skills, many patients return home with a new or renewed passion for gardening.
Garden Therapy is a huge part of what we do at Horatio's Garden. Lead by Occupational Therapists and aided by Volunteers it offers patients an alternative therapy than the normal given in the hospital. Patients have the chance to improve on or learn new gardening skills, which mainly assists with hand dexterity, improving mental wellbeing and a sense of achievement too.
Each one of Horatio's Gardens has a greenhouse which allows patients and volunteers to grow and cultivate herbs, small lettuces and flowers in an accessible space that also offers delicate plants shelter from the weather.
Horatio’s Gardens provide patients with somewhere to find much-needed solace in an oasis of planting even if on bed rest, the gardens are accessible for all. To be able to leave the ward, head out into the garden and enjoy fresh air in a safe and beautiful environment enhances wellbeing for patients who spend months in hospital.
Each garden has a Head Gardener and many volunteers as well as a plethora of different visitors who all come and work together to enrich the patient's experience during their time in hospital. This includes artists, musicians and people offering courses such as the 'Looking out Projects'.
A welcome and essential part of each Horatio’s Garden is tea and homemade cake. Each Garden has a fully accessible and well-stocked Garden Room, where patients can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, a piece of cake and a chat. The Garden Room is also a place to meet other patients, invite friends and family for a cup of tea or just sit and read a book or newspaper. Volunteers regularly bake delicious treats for the patients and visitors.
Time away from the ward in an informal and relaxing setting can be very beneficial, as patients are often in hospital for long periods of time.
Thank you for the cakes and drinks, you all make everyone feel included and special.
Delicious homemade cake with a lovely cup of tea
Beautiful Emma Bridgewater mugs made exclusively for Horatio's Garden
The team of volunteer bakers always ensure there is plenty of delicious homemade cake
Each Garden has a fully accessible Garden Room with tea and coffee making facilities and volunteers on hand to help, if needed.
Each year we invite an artist to exhibit in the Gardens. Through the summer months different artists in residence paint alongside patients in the garden. Often patients get involved and start painting themselves. Last year a ‘Looking Out’ project, run by artist-in- residence Miranda Creswell, has culminated in pictures featuring an ordnance survey map of the view from the patient’s room and the many features that make up the view. This project is now being extended to the second Horatio’s Garden in Glasgow.
Twice yearly sculpture exhibitions give the garden a new dimension. Patients get the opportunity to meet the artists and experience thought provoking art on a daily basis. Last winter, Bruce Munro’s light installation in the garden room was incredible. Taking nature as inspiration, the audio-visual work called ‘Reflections II’ created a calming and relaxing atmosphere in the garden room. The stunning sculptures currently on exhibition are by artist, Fiamma Colonna Montagu, who specialises in large scale ceramic work.
Throughout the year different artists and sculptors display their work in the gardens. This part of the work by Fiamma Colonna Montagu displayed in Horatio's Garden Salisbury in Summer 2017.
Horatio's Garden is place for all the enjoy, whatever the weather!
In 2016 Bruce Munro brought ‘Reflections II’ to Horatio's Garden Salisbury, a new series of beautiful and immersive audio-visual digital animations.
"It is a pleasure to be involved with Horatio’s Garden and the Spinal Centre at Salisbury District Hospital. Reflections are landscapes of animated light for the mind and spirit to wonder…"
The gardens look gorgeous no matter what the season. This photo was taken early morning in January 2017 in Horatio's Garden Salisbury, featuring one of Simon Gudgeon's sculptures.