It’s hard to believe that Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville has now been open for two years, but time has flown by and today does indeed mark the garden’s second birthday! To celebrate, Head Gardener Jacqui decided to do a special tour of the garden, which you can watch below.
The garden has really put its roots down since opening in 2018 and the planting has become gloriously established. All the little alcoves that were thoughtfully designed by Joe Swift are now surrounded by tall, colourful plants, lending patients and their loved ones private places of repose. Similarly, the wide open spaces of the garden are now beautifully framed by stunning trees and various other flora, whilst the planters scattered across the garden are always full to the brim with stunning seasonal displays.
Despite this year being extraordinarily different to the garden’s first, Head Gardener Jacqui, Administration Assistant Anna and all the garden’s brilliant volunteers have come together to ensure Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville continues to lend support to those who need it most. Although a few volunteers have begun to return to the garden, the whole team have worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes to help patients from a distance however they can, with some even hosting regular creative workshops for those spending time in the National Spinal Injuries Centre via Zoom.
Head Gardener Jacqui has also continued to encourage patients to garden and engage with nature whenever they can, which has been a source of fun, calm and comfort for many. Most recently, Jacqui and volunteer Eloise created a Mini Butterfly Sanctuary, which has delighted both adults, children and NHS staff alike! Meanwhile, the garden’s edible plants also continue to bring joy to everyone, with plenty of fresh mint for people’s teas, lots of tomatoes and even more Violet French Beans.
Whilst Horatio’s Garden was always hugely appreciated by patients, their families, friends and NHS staff, this year the sanctuary has proven to be a real lifeline. The garden has been there for everything, from providing a space for physiotherapy and wheelchair training sessions, to being a place where people could finally reunite with their loved ones after months of being apart in lockdown.
Having seen how far the garden has come in just two short years, we are intrigued to see what the future holds for our vibrant third garden. Whilst all our lives may have changed in 2020, it’s perhaps comforting to know that nature is changing with us and that its beauty both in Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville and beyond will continue to grow and endure.