This month marked our very first site visit of the year to Horatio’s Garden Wales!
Together award-winning designer, Sarah Price, her colleague Emma, and Project Manager, Owen Hemmings of the Robert Lombardelli Partnership, went to safely visit the space at the Welsh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre in University Hospital Llandough, which is being transformed into a horticultural haven as we speak.
This is the fourth Horatio’s Garden to be overseen by Owen’s considered eye and he, Sarah and Emma spent a brilliant day properly exploring all the latest developments at the site. They were delighted with the progress that’s been made so far and enjoyed sharing a selection of highlights from their day in Cardiff.
Most importantly, the landscape and its foundations are now level, which was a huge task as the garden is being built on reclaimed ground. Being raised, this also means that the garden will be encircled by subtle fencing to ensure people’s safety, which was all in situ by the time the team visited. Each piece artfully frames the view surrounding the hospital, which includes a rolling field destined to become a community orchard in the not-too-distant future, with glimpses of the sea visible in the horizon beyond.
Our Founder & Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple, recently shared that watching Sarah develop her designs is akin to “seeing an artist at work”. With the sanctuary now truly starting to take shape, we therefore thought it would be nice to share more about Sarah’s charming creation.
From the outset, Sarah was passionate about incorporating as many elements of the winsome Welsh landscape into the garden as possible, despite the space being the smallest of our gardens to date.
She has thus devoted different spaces to different sources of horticultural inspiration, meaning that Horatio’s Garden Wales will be home to a moss garden, shed garden, scented garden, meadow garden, vegetable garden, flower garden and the ‘orchard hall’. Sarah coined the phrase for the latter, with it becoming her gentle way of referring to the area that will soon be full of flourishing multi-stemmed crab trees and amelanchier.
As the name suggests, the shed garden will be where our Head Gardener’s shed and office will be, although the building will naturally be a little more than your average outhouse! Sarah is creating it and plans for it to be built using timber and corrugated steel, capturing the aesthetic and spirit of the buildings peppered across rural Wales.
Meanwhile, whilst the meadow garden will be explorative, loose and wild, the flower garden will be more structured and will likely become the social hub of the garden, as this is where the pavilion will be situated.
In addition to a small garden room, Horatio’s Garden Wales will have this new area to ensure that there are plenty of sheltered spaces for patients, their loved ones and NHS staff. It is being designed by architects 6a in collaboration with Sarah and will feature a great deal of glass, with the intention being to allow for a lot of natural light. The pavilion will be homely, with a kitchen area and plenty of seating both inside and on the terrace, which has been created by adorning the pavilion with a vast roof. Consequently, everyone will be able to enjoy a warm cup of tea, homemade cake and feel the fresh air whilst nestled in a secluded spot.
Finally, no Horatio’s Garden is complete without a Griffin Glasshouse or raised planters! The former will be in a lean-to style, once again echoing historic Welsh architecture, whilst the planters are being developed by the ever-enthusiastic Max Harriman of Tom Stuart-Smith Studio.
It’s wonderful to be able to share more about Sarah’s thoughtful designs with all of you and it will be a delight to see patients, their families, friends and NHS staff all venturing out into Horatio’s Garden Wales when the project is finished later this year.