It was an absolute joy to welcome acclaimed garden designer and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Arit Anderson to Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville and we had a gorgeous spring day for it too!
Both Arit and our Founder & Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple, had long been hoping to meet and were thrilled when the day finally arrived. The sun was shining, although as Arit shared on her Instagram following her visit “the garden shone anyway with all the love in it.”
During the afternoon, Arit enthusiastically and thoughtfully spoke with both Head Gardener, Amy Moffett and our team of volunteers. She shared how impressed she was with how beautifully they keep the garden and garden room, regarding both as welcoming, uplifting and something the garden’s designer, Joe Swift, should most certainly be proud of.
Arit also spent much of her time chatting and getting to know some of the patients spending time in the garden, including photographer Charlotte. As a professional, Charlotte was only too happy to capture Arit’s visit, whilst she has also been generously sharing the photos she’s taken throughout her time in hospital with us. Each one offers a fresh, unique perspective and it was lovely to see both Charlotte and Arit discussing their fondness for the garden.
As Arit writes, “speaking with some patients they felt the garden quite literally keeps them going. Priceless in value to their health I felt.”
It was an important visit too for Arit’s partner, Scott, who joined her in the sanctuary. Later in the day, the two were heading to a local museum to loan them a collection of personal documents which belonged to Scott’s great-grandfather, who was a coach at the first Paralympic Games which began in Stoke Mandeville.
Additionally, being a trustee of the National Garden Scheme, Arit was delighted to see the profoundly positive difference the organisation’s continued generosity makes to Horatio’s Garden. It was evident that every person opening their garden, combined with our national love of tea and cake, most definitely holds the power to change people’s lives.
Both Head Gardener Amy and Founder & Chair of Trustees Olivia felt it was a wonderful day, with each echoing what a pleasure it was to introduce Arit to the sanctuary. They made a mention too of just how much patients and volunteers enjoyed the day, adding that they are as keen as we are for Arit to come back soon!
As a final word, Arit penned the following:
“An emotional but hugely uplifting day. I salute all of the patients for their courage and determination, the families, staff and garden makers at this special place.”