We’ve worked with award-winning garden designer Bunny Guinness to transform the garden around the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries into a beautiful sanctuary for patients and their loved ones.
The garden is the fourth of its kind to open in the UK and it has been wonderful to see Bunny Guinness’ thoughtful designs being brought to life by an incredible team. The project was once again expertly managed by Owen Hemmings of the Robert Lombardelli partnership, whilst Read Construction and Butler Landscapes worked together to ensure the garden became the gentle, welcoming space that Bunny first imagined.
The garden room is a spectacular element of the garden too. It was designed by Andrew Wells of 3W Architecture and features a stunning ceiling painted by artist Martin Rodgers. The garden room and adjacent courtyard form the social hub of the garden, offering patients and visitors the opportunity to gather together in a warm, welcoming environment. The garden also features many secluded areas, where patients can quietly reflect amongst the planting.
It is thanks to the support of many wonderfully generous individuals, donors, businesses and organisations that we have been able to take another step forward on our journey to support everyone affected by spinal injury throughout the UK.
Now that the garden is newly open, we ask for your continued support. Not only will this help us to tend the garden, it also means we can offer patients the opportunity to be involved in all kinds of events and activities. No donation is too great or too small – anything you can give makes an enormous difference to everyone spending many months in hospital.
“To see our patients enjoy this Garden is the most rewarding sight. It really is heaven.”
If you feel inspired to SUPPORT the garden, either by volunteering, becoming a friend, donating, or fundraising we would love for you to be a part of the story of Horatio’s Garden Oswestry. Simply CLICK HERE for more information.
Bunny Guinness is well known as a Gardeners’ Question Time panellist on Radio 4 and writer for the Telegraph. Her sensitive designs will include a spectacular garden room so patients can enjoy the garden whatever the weather and a fabulous greenhouse within a horticultural therapy area. A social area will provide space for patients to gather and enjoy live music and events hosted by the charity, whilst private areas will offer patients the space to escape and contemplate.
“Hearing from people who have benefitted from the other Horatio’s Gardens has inspired me. The gardens provide all the benefits of a beautiful outside space to people who really appreciate them. For the patients, it may well be their first venture into the outside world again, for their friends, families and staff the gardens provide a softer more personable space away from the ward. I am privileged to be involved in this exciting project at Oswestry.”
Bunny Guinness’ designs carefully reflect the needs of patients and their families. The main garden will wrap the spinal unit on two sides, with the planting in the existing courtyard areas being enhanced so that all patients’ bedroom windows will have a view of nature. The garden will be all on one level, with smooth paths throughout ensuring that it is easily accessible to patients in beds and wheelchairs. The essential design features will be a social space, private areas for patients to seek solitude or share with a family or friend, flowing water in a rill, a garden room, a garden therapy area, greenhouse, wheelchair skills area and children’s play area.
“This is going to help our patients a lot. It will not only help them in their physical wellbeing but more so in their psychological well being. Once their mind is in a better place, I would expect them to be participating lot better in rehab and it might actually reduce their hospital stay” – Joy Roy Chowdhury, Consultant Surgeon.
Read more about the design HERE
Imogen will be responsible for nurturing our brand new garden, with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers.
Having previously worked as a Horticultural Instructor at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, Imogen is looking forward to running the charity’s gentle garden therapy sessions, which offer a great deal of physical and mental support to patients and families. As she is currently studying for her Masters in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture, she is naturally enthusiastic about all that gardens and gardening have to offer and has an insightful understanding of their therapeutic value.
Imogen has relocated from the South especially to take up her new position, moving her narrowboat all the way to it’s new home near Oswestry in order to be close to the garden. The Shropshire Star have already welcomed Imogen to the local community, and in the short time since being introduced to the charity she’s joined in with numerous Fabulous Summer Tea Parties and has been interviewed at the site of the garden by BBC Radio Shropshire.
Imogen looks forward to seeing many local supporters at the charity’s events in the future and her enthusiasm and commitment to Horatio’s Garden will undoubtedly continue to inspire many once the garden opens later this year.
Click below to hear more from our Head Gardeners about how to get the best out of your gardens all year round!
Ready for some spooky films, spooky snacks, spooky readings, spooky games and spooky costumes? Then come along to our Halloween events in the garden room!
• October 31st, 2-5pm - Halloween party with games and snacks
• November 1st, 6-10pm - Halloween film night
To find out more simply have a chat with Head Gardener Imogen or one of the volunteer team.
You're welcome to join Head Gardener Imogen to take part in relaxed horticultural therapy sessions in the garden every Tuesday between 2-3pm.
Recent activities include taking cuttings from the raised beds, planting various allium bulbs and forcing hyacinths for the festive season.
Patients have recently been creating and painting bird boxes, which will soon be brightening the walls of the garden and offering a home to wildlife this winter. Everyone is welcome to join in – simply ask the Occupational Therapy team or one of our volunteers to find out more.
The Horatio’s Garden Oswestry Book Club is now up and running and will be holding monthly meetings from October 2019. There are audio and large print versions of the books available, so everyone is very welcome to join in with the fun - whether you're a patient, visitor, MCSI staff or a volunteer. It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid reader or not – it’s simply an opportunity to enjoy the garden, get to know each other and have a good chat over a hot cup of tea! Let Head Gardener Imogen Jackson know if you would like to attend.
"I first learnt of The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital when I was a Physiotherapy student at The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel in the late 1950s.
I then worked at the The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham, which was run on the principles of Dame Agnes with the patients being treated outside as much as possible and I learnt how valuable that was in their recovery.
Imagine my surprise when I married and discovered that my husband was on the Management Committee of the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt hospital! Then as I was introduced to it I realised how remarkable and unique it is. Before long we were welcoming the League of Friends' bus to our home - loaded with patients and nurses from the spinal injury wards visiting us for a tour of the gardens and tea then followed by a beer and a game of bingo.
Our League of Friends was founded in 1961 and I have been on the Executive Committee for over 45 years and latterly it's vice chairman.
We constantly strive to provide the very best for our patients, staff and research.
The possibility that we can assist in honouring our Founder's principles and Horatio's inspirational views about what is good for recovering patients and create a Horatio's Garden for the Midland Spinal Units is like a dream realised, a miracle!".
"I am delighted that the decision has been taken to install a Horatio's Garden at the Orthopedic Hospital at Gobowen. It will provide a very important aid in the care of those with spinal injuries, as well as greatly enhancing the surrounds of the hospital, which serves a large area on both sides of the border between England and Wales."
"The beauty of flowers in a Horatio's Garden lifts the heart and exploring them gives hope and a will to face the struggle."
"The Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries serves a population of about 10 million from North Wales, mid-Wales and the West Midlands. It is one of two Centres in the UK that was rebuilt from charitable donations (£4.5 million). It was architecturally designed with full involvement of the senior team members of the Centre to ensure ease of management of patients in a pleasant environment.
Although the environment within the Centre is second to none in quality, unfortunately it was difficult to raise more funds to provide an equally pleasant and serene environment around the Centre for the patient and their relatives to enjoy. This is particularly significant considering the required period of hospitalisation, the relative limitation of space within the Centre, the inability of the patients to exercise outdoors or to enjoy being with their relatives outdoors in good weather.
The dream that one day a garden around the Centre will be developed to facilitate and enhance the management of the emotional, psychological, medical and physical effects of such a sudden life-changing injury has never stopped following me even after I retired from the NHS.
I am grateful to the Chapple family and the Horatio's Garden organisation for their endeavours in making that dream come true for all patients, their families and indeed for me too."
Prof W S El Masri FRCS Ed, FRCP Clinical Professor of Spinal Injuries
"The Midlands Centre for Spinal Injury does extraordinary and wonderful work. It’s well known and appreciated throughout the equestrian world in particular, for the treatment it has provided to injured riders. This garden will be be a huge asset to the Centre, providing a beautiful and valuable addition to the healing process."
"This is a brilliant, beautiful project for a brilliant, beautiful charity. Such a garden lifts the spirits away from what must inevitably be a functional building for the care of patients. A garden such as this one enables them to enter another world in terms of sight, touch, smell and touch. Once again, I say, brilliant and beautiful."
David became a patron for Horatio's Garden Oswestry, which his niece Bunny Guinness is designing. The garden will be filled with wonderfully scented roses.
It is with great sadness that the Austin family announces the passing of David C. H. Austin Snr OBE VMH, rosarian and founder of David Austin Roses Ltd. David Snr died peacefully at his home in Shropshire on Tuesday 18th December 2018, surrounded by his family. He was 92.
Horatio's Garden Oswestry
The Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries
The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital