Horatio's Garden Northern Ireland - Belfast

Please click ‘Play’ on the image to the right to watch the Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland Appeal Video

We’ll be working with Belfast Health & Social Care Trust to bring Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland to The Spinal Cord Injuries Unit (SCIU) which is located in the Withers Building at Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast. It has a total of 15 beds and serves patients from across the entirety of Northern Ireland, therefore the garden will be a vital sanctuary for people who are facing long stays in hospital far from home. The garden will also be there to support people staying in the Amputee Rehabilitation Unit, which has a total of eight beds.

Each Horatio’s Garden is designed to be a home away from home, offering patients, their loved ones and NHS staff a beautiful haven of calm, where they can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature all year round. The garden at the SCIU will be there to help patients, their families and their friends as they adjust to living with life-changing injuries, giving people somewhere to quietly think and reflect, as well as providing people with a stunning natural environment that people can enjoy spending time in together.

“It is my hope that having a Horatio’s Garden at the spinal unit in Musgrave Park hospital will transform the lives of patients during their time in rehabilitation. The presence of a garden will allow people to escape the clinical environment and experience the happiness and freedom brought about by plants and flowers.”
– Dr Suzanne Maguire, Consultant in Rehabilitation 

Each of our gardens is cared for by a brilliant team of volunteers, who are led by a Head Gardener at each location. They nurture the gardens, offer warmth and kindness to everyone (as well as plenty of tea and homemade cake!) and support the therapeutic activities run by the charity. These include gardening, art, live music performances, seasonal events and artists’ residencies, which are all designed to support people’s physical and psychological wellbeing, whilst complementing the clinical care provided by the spinal centre’s staff.

“The patients within the spinal unit are going through so much, as are their families. Having a spinal injury can be so traumatic and patients can spend months in the spinal unit recovering. Having a peaceful and private place to evaluate and destress could be a vital component in their rehabilitation.” – Will, a former patient of the SCIU

The SCIU is run by a dedicated team of NHS staff, including nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and consultants. In addition to helping patients and their loved ones, Horatio’s Garden also gives staff somewhere they can retreat to on their breaks whenever they wish to have a little respite from the ward.

The garden will be brought to life by leading garden designer Andy Sturgeon, who you can read more about below. We are very excited to be able to be collaborating with people from across Northern Ireland on this powerful new project that will transform people’s lives for many years to come.

“Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland will improve lives for people across the whole of the country who have experienced life-changing spinal injuries.” – The Earl of Antrim

Fantastically, thanks to wonderfully generous donations from both the MITRE Trust and the National Garden Scheme, as well as an enormous amount of public support, we have now successfully raised 80% of the required funds to bring Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland to life. Nevertheless, we still need your help to raise the remaining 20% so please do keep donating and fundraising to help us reach our final total!

To support the appeal for Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland, please donate by clicking the button in the top right hand corner of this page. Alternatively you can donate by post to the registered office address: 2 Throope Down Office, Blandford Road, Coombe Bissett, Salisbury, SP5 4LN, or phone 01722 326834 to donate by credit card.

If you feel you could help us with fundraising, or would like to volunteer, please contact us by emailing info@horatiosgarden.org.uk, or ring 01722 326834.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our seventh Horatio’s Garden so far.

Andy Sturgeon

Andy Sturgeon is an acclaimed garden designer who works internationally. His modern designs are a fusion of traditional materials and contemporary styling, that have come to be known for their timeless, architectural qualities, innovative planting and sculptural characteristics.

He has won a total of nine RHS Gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, most recently in 2022. Three of these have also been awarded the coveted accolade of ‘Best in Show’.

“It was an enormous privilege to be asked to do this project. As a garden designer, it’s very unusual to get an opportunity to have such a positive and fundamental impact on people’s lives. This garden, I feel, will make a real difference.”

Andy is currently developing his designs for Horatio’s Garden Northern Ireland, which we will be able to share with you soon.

The Design

The garden will wrap around the spinal centre giving patients and staff views of the sanctuary from the wards. The planting has been designed to distract from the surrounding buildings and the angular, square geometry of the existing space.

The warm garden room will be the hub of the garden – a simple building, with timber cladding and a green roof lending the structure subtle sophistication. The sanctuary will be the first Horatio’s Garden to feature a dedicated boccia court in a social area with parasols and sensory planting. A beautiful water feature will bring reflection and the calm sound of water to the space.

Meanwhile, stunning trees and planting will enable patients to connect with nature and wildlife, giving a sense of being away from the hospital. Patients will have warm garden pods to shelter in, as well as areas designed for privacy outside surrounded by planting. A large greenhouse will be the focus for horticultural therapy and somewhere patients can enjoy growing edibles and cutting flowers. The haven is perfectly designed for the charity to host creative workshops, live music and seasonal events for patients and their families.

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Building work for Horatio's Garden Northern Ireland has not yet begun, but if you would like to know more please ring the office on 01722 326834 or email info@horatiosgarden.org.uk.

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