December 18 2015

The time I spent in Horatio's Garden had an impact on me in several ways, mentally, physically and emotionally.
It was a place to go to escape the rigid routine and schedule of being on a hospital ward. A place where you could be left alone to gather your thoughts an try to comprehend what your future looks like after illness or injury leaving you with life changing results.
Also somewhere you could be distracted by the beauty of the garden,the views,the smells the tranquillity, or by enjoying a slice of cake and a coffee whilst chatting to one or more of the volunteers in the garden. Even getting your hands dirty potting plants, flower arranging or for me mainly being able to draw some of the amazing flowers and plants that were perfectly placed within the garden.
The garden was somewhere you took your family or friends whom visited you,to share with them a little of what was here within the spinal unit surroundings.
Having such an amazing, uplifting space to retreat to after a heavy physio session or intense meeting with Dr's/consultants, made it that bit easier to digest and come to terms with what the future held for each of us.
Somewhere you chatted to other spinal patients about how or why you were on the wards,where you discussed ways of dealing with different aspects of your new found life situation.
Without the enjoyment and friendly atmosphere that Horatio's Garden had to offer, I know my outlook on my future would have been very different,and my depression would have been somewhat harder to manage, which would have added even more pressure onto the reality of a situation that was hard enough to come to terms with.
I sincerely believe that there should be a Horatio's Garden at every spinal rehabilitation centre throughout the UK, it's so much more than a few flowers and plants.

Janina Sweeney

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