Our horticultural havens are always being developed and Horatio’s Garden Scotland has been the site of a major mini-project for the past few months. Wonderfully, the sanctuary is now home to a stunning new garden room!


Back when internationally acclaimed garden designer and RHS judge, James Alexander-Sinclair, created the garden, which opened in 2016, there was limited land space. This meant it was impossible to incorporate a vast interior area within his thoughtful designs. Instead, James included three warm and cosy garden pods, an innovative creation and something many people regard as one of their favourite features in Horatio’s Garden. Now, we endeavour to build both these and a garden room into each of our new projects. 

Remarkably, Horatio’s Garden Scotland is now five years young and the opening of the gorgeous, fully accessible new garden room was the perfect way to mark the occasion.


Designed by architect Audrey Mason in collaboration with Andy Steel, both of DAS Design, and built by a team from Morris & Spottiswood, the incredible room blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings, making the very most of the available space. Throughout the garden’s lifetime, patients have been able to enjoy the garden in all winds and weathers from both the Horatio’s Garden pods and from an interior space generously shared with the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit. Nevertheless, the charity has long intended to create a garden room here, simply so everyone can truly escape the ward environment and enjoy a panoramic view of nature no matter how cold or wet it may be outside.

Already the new addition has made a huge difference and we so appreciate the many brilliant people and organisations who made the project possible, including the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Endowment Fund, The Orcome Trust, Robert Barr’s Charitable Trust, The Robertson Trust and Scotland’s Garden Scheme.


The beautifully considered creation will be the hub of the garden, a place where even more people will be able to help themselves to tea and homemade cake at any one moment, somewhere patients can spend time with each other or with their loved ones and a location where our staff and volunteers can host horticultural therapy sessions, creative workshops and seasonal events whenever the weather is poor. 

Creative inspiration can be found in the fabric of the garden room itself. Artist Charlotte Mason designed an elegant copper art frieze as part of the development, an exquisite work which runs the length of the room and is backlit, casting an inviting glow which is particularly welcome as the nights begin to draw in.

Moreover, the Looking Out Table, also known as the Butterfly Table, has been moved from its previous location to its new home here. Created from concept by artist and long-time supporter of Horatio’s Garden, Miranda Creswell, the table features both her own works and pieces by patients Miranda supported throughout her time as the garden’s artist in residence. Thanks to the generosity of Trustee Catherine Burns and the talented hands of carpenter Niall Wilson of Sandwood Designs, the table will eternally encourage conversation, creativity and the sharing of stories. 

Excitingly, the project didn’t stop with the creation of the garden room. In order to accommodate the structure, the nearby planting required a redesign, something the garden’s original designer, James Alexander-Sinclair, was only too happy to help with! 

It wasn’t long before James returned with his proposal and work began on the new flower beds, created with the help of Endrick Landscapes, to give everyone visiting the garden room a varied and vibrant outlook. Every new plant was carefully placed by our fantastic team of volunteers, who joined James, Head Gardener Sallie Sillars, Garden Administrator Yvonne Gleeson, Trustee Catherine Burns and Founder & Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple, for a fabulously fun day of planting.

Amongst the new flora are a selection of unique plants, all of which were generously donated to the haven by The Barbour Foundation. Each one was originally due to feature in Barbour’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden in May, however the Show’s postponement meant Barbour kindly gave them to Horatio’s Garden instead. James was naturally thrilled, as was designer of Horatio’s Garden Wales, Sarah Price. Whilst some of the plants are currently flourishing in Scotland, others will soon be establishing themselves in our sixth new sanctuary in Cardiff.

As a finishing touch, we were enormously grateful to Sitting Spiritually for giving us their expertly handcrafted Tranquillity Oak Bench, which is on long term loan to the garden and which volunteers and visitors alike are already appreciating.


With everything in place, the final flourish came this autumn, when James, Sallie, Yvonne, Catherine, Olivia and all our marvellous volunteers once again came safely together for the garden’s annual Bulbathon!

It was lovely to see so many fresh faces and everyone unanimously agreed that putting thousands of bulbs full of promise in the ground was not only uplifting, but filled them with hope and optimism for the future too.