Horatio's Garden Midlands - Oswestry

Horatio’s Garden Midlands opened in 2019 at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries in the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital. The centre of excellence serves a catchment of 10 million from North Wales, Mid-Wales, South Mersey, Cheshire and The West Midlands. It provides lifelong service to a current population of 3,500 patients. 

Award-winning garden designer, Bunny Guinness, created the garden, establishing a thriving, gentle and welcoming space that’s changed the lives of patients, their loved ones and the NHS staff working in the spinal centreThe project was again expertly overseen by Owen Hemmings of the Robert Lombardelli partnership, with Read ConstructionButler Landscapes and Andrew Wells of 3W Architecture working together to create the haven Bunny first imagined. 

“The garden is invaluable. It has been a saviour to me in times of need and emotional moments. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve bathed in sunshine and made many new friends, many of whom I’ll keep forever!” 

Responsible for caring and nurturing the garden is Head Gardener & Horticultural Therapist, Imogen Jackson. Together with a garden administrator and an incredible team of volunteers and in close collaboration with the spinal centre’s wonderful staff, Imogen runs a regular, varied programme of activities. This includes horticultural therapy in both group and 1:1 settings, creative workshops, ever-popular Mindfulness in Nature sessions and informative Coping with Spinal Injury in Practice gatherings. 

“To see our patients enjoy this garden is the most rewarding sight. It really is heaven.” 

As each Horatio’s Garden requires constant funding of £75,000 a year, please consider donating via our website or becoming a Friend to support our Midlands garden’s ongoing running costs. Alternatively, you can also donate by post to our registered office 2 Throope Down Office, Blandford Road, Coombe Bissett, Salisbury, SP5 4LN, or phone 01722 326 834 to donate by credit card. 

If you feel you could help with fundraising, or would like to volunteer, please contact us by emailing volunteer@horatiosgarden.org.uk or ring 01722 326 834. 

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Would you like to visit the garden? We’re hoping we will soon be able to once again welcome small groups to see Horatio’s Garden from 2022. Please contact Garden Tour Coordinator, Lucy Shergold, by emailing lucyS@horatiosgarden.org.uk or call 07902906178 for more information. 

BUNNY GUINNESS

Bunny Guinness is an award-winning Landscape and Garden Designer, who has worked in Landscape Design for well over 30 years. She has gained a wealth of experience working on a range of projects and is celebrated for her considered approach to transforming spaces. 

In addition to her design work, she is well-known and recognised for her extensive media presence. As well as having been a panelist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time since 1998, she has also written a weekly column concerning all things gardening since 2000 and regularly contributes to other publications, such as Gardens Illustrated magazine. 

Her extensive horticultural knowledge made her perfect for bringing Horatio’s Garden Oswestry into being. Speaking of her contributionshe says “The garden provides all the benefits of a beautiful outside space to people who really appreciate them and offer people a softer, more personable space away from the ward. I am privileged to be involved in this exciting project.” 

The Design

Bunny’s design carefully and subtly reflects the needs of patients and their families. The main garden wraps the spinal centre on two sides, with the planting in the existing courtyard being enhanced with flowers such as Rosa ‘Olivia’, Verbena bonariensis, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’, ensuring that every patient has a colourful view of nature from their bedroom window. The design also incorporated a stunning magnolia tree, which was planted by the hospital’s namesake, Dame Agnes Hunt, generally recognised as the first orthopaedic nurse who pioneered the benefits of nature to people’s health and recovery. 

Smooth paths throughout ensure that patients in both beds and wheelchairs can easily access the garden, whilst the glasshouse and garden therapy area feature raised beds and planters which enable patients to grow their own plants, flowers and vegetables. The design also includes an open social space for patients to spend time in with family, friends and fellow patients, whilst sheltered areas lend privacy to individuals and smaller groups. Additionally, the garden has a wheelchair skills area, children’s play area and serpentine rill. 

The garden room is a spectacular element of the sanctuary. It was designed by Andrew Wells of 3W Architecture, whilst the extraordinary ceiling was painted by artist Martin Rodgers. It features a fully accessible kitchen, a gorgeous wood burning stove and a projector screen so that patients can enjoy film nights and watch theatre shows. Here, patients can gather with whomever they wish in warm, comfortable environment, meaning everyone can appreciate the sights and sounds of nature all year round.

ALEX LAW

We welcomed Alex to the team at Horatio’s Garden Midlands in January 2022. He is an RHS Wisley-trained horticulturist with a passion for plants, people, and the planet.

Through working in several UK gardens, most recently as Head Gardener of Wollerton Old Hall in North Shropshire, he has cultivated an appetite for collaborating with others, connecting with nature, and using gardens for their myriad health and wellbeing benefits. 

“I’m completely enthralled with the positive impacts of Horatio’s Garden and feel privileged to be able to contribute to the garden in Oswestry. Looking after Bunny’s beautifully designed garden and supporting patients to experience the benefits of gardening is a unique and inspiring opportunity.” 

Click below to hear more from our Head Gardeners about how to get the best out of your gardens all year round!

Head Gardeners' Tips

Find Us

Horatio's Garden Midlands - Oswestry
The Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries
The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital
Gobowen
Oswestry
SY10 7AG

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