Why we do it

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 he was also the 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.

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

Following the enormous success of the first Horatio’s Garden, exemplified in patient questionnaires and feedback, the charity was set up to establish Horatio’s Garden nationally at the other ten regional spinal injury centres in the UK.

Horatio’s Garden Scotland opened in September 2016, designed by James Alexander-Sinclair, whilst Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville opened in September 2018 and was designed by Joe Swift.

Horatio’s Garden Oswestry, which has been brought to life by Bunny Guinness, recently opened in September 2019. We are continuing to run our capital appeal for Horatio’s Garden London, being created by Tom Stuart-Smith, as we hope to cover the first year’s running costs. Our sixth project, Horatio’s Garden Cardiff, is currently being developed by Sarah Price.

Every year we welcome Research Interns as part of the Oxford University Internship Scheme, who put together a report about how each garden makes a difference to the lives of everyone affected by spinal injury. Throughout the summer of 2019, Ruxandra Vasile and Isaac Hadfield spent time with speaking with patients, visitors and NHS staff to discover more about what Horatio’s Garden means to people across the UK. 

Please click the following link to read their full report – Horatio’s Garden Report 2019

The garden song

The Evidence

Garden therapy in spinal cord injury

Garden therapy in spinal cord injury

An article published about Horatio's Garden reviews the evidence for garden therapy in spinal cord ...

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Ulrich

Ulrich

Results from a hospital study found that a patient’s wellbeing was improved when they had a room ...

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Gelser - 1992, 1993 Fund

Gelser - 1992, 1993 Fund

Gesler (1992, 1993) suggests that certain environments promote mental and physical wellbeing. He ...

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King's Fund Report

King's Fund Report

Funded by the National Garden Scheme, the King's Fund report looked at the evidence into the ...

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Mind: Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside

Mind: Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside

The charity Mind report: Feel Better Outside, Feel Better Inside, includes new findings from the ...

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Woodland Trust 2014

Woodland Trust 2014

The Woodland Trust's chief executive has said increasing people's access to green spaces could cut ...

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Olds - 1985

Olds - 1985

Olds conducted an experiment during a series of workshops on 300 participants. They used a ...

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Paine & Francis 1990

Paine & Francis 1990

A strong body of research suggests that gardens are also vital areas for socialising. Paine and ...

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Patient Testimonials

Time with Family

Time with Family

"A haven for our family coming to terms with a life changing accident. Thank you."

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A Tranquil Space

A Tranquil Space

"The garden lets you get away from the hospital. Inside you can’t help but think, but when you go ...

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Experiences in Horatio’s Garden

Experiences in Horatio’s Garden

"The garden has improved my wellbeing massively. It’s nice to be outside and it doesn’t feel or ...

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Thoughts on Horatio’s Garden

Thoughts on Horatio’s Garden

"Having a space away from the clinical apparatus, smells and stuffiness for us both is ...

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Sharing Horatio’s Garden

Sharing Horatio’s Garden

Victoria Theakston's letter to the Telegraph in January 2016: 'Sir - Jeremy Smith (Weekend, ...

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Reflections

Reflections

'The time I spent in Horatio's Garden had an impact on me in several ways, mentally, physically and ...

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A Patient’s Thank You

A Patient’s Thank You

"While we have been in the spinal unit Horatio's Garden has been an oasis of peace and calm away ...

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Thank You to the Volunteers

Thank You to the Volunteers

"Thank you to everyone who works so hard in this wonderful garden. The volunteers are all amazing, ...

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Time with other patients

Time with other patients

"Horatio's Garden fosters a sense of community amongst spinal patients that we would not otherwise ...

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Thank you from a Patient

Thank you from a Patient

“Thank you so much for providing us with this beautiful garden to enjoy – our little bit of ...

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A Letter of Appreciation

A Letter of Appreciation

"I wanted to write to say thank you for being the wonderful people you are. Horatio's Garden was my ...

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Garden Poem

Garden Poem

Sunlight filters through the trees Flowers swaying in the breeze The gentle sound of buzzing ...

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Letter from a Patient’s Wife

Letter from a Patient’s Wife

"We would like to say how much the activities which have taken place in Horatio's Garden have been ...

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Therapeutic Gardens

Therapeutic Gardens

“I feel better after hand therapy. I love planting things because it means a little part of me ...

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Welcoming Atmosphere

Welcoming Atmosphere

"I just have to say a very big thank you to you and your excellent team of volunteers. We were ...

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From an Inpatient

From an Inpatient

Your garden makes a difference when I am so very low, It's such an inspiration and wonderful place ...

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From a Former Patient

From a Former Patient

Horatio's Garden, such tranquillity, allows me to think of the life set before me. I feel calm ...

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