Horatio's Garden Scotland - Glasgow

Horatio’s Garden Scotland opened in 2016 at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow. The spinal centre serves patients from across the entirety of Scotland, from the country’s southern border to the Orkney and Shetland Islands. 

Created by acclaimed garden designer and RHS Judge, James Alexander-Sinclair, Horatio’s Garden Scotland has transformed the lives of patients, their loved ones and NHS staff affected by spinal cord injury. The view from the wards, communal rooms and gorgeous garden room is now life-affirming, with clever planting ensuring those spending time in the spinal centre always have something uplifting to see. Watching wildlife thriving in the garden, or simply admiring the leaves swaying in the breeze helps people throughout their rehabilitation, particularly by providing a stunning scene for people who often spend many weeks on bed rest. 

“Horatio’s Garden has been a blessing and has helped tremendously with my recovery at the spinal unit.” 

Head Gardener & Horticultural Therapist, Sallie Sillars, does a fantastic job of taking care of the garden and runs both regular group and 1:1 horticultural therapy sessions, as well as often leading therapeutic art activities too. The autumn is one of the most exciting periods of the year in this particular haven, with patients and NHS staff alike harvesting edible treats and creating recipes with Head Gardener Sallie using produce sourced from the garden. Working together with part-time Garden Administrator, Yvonne Gleeson, a brilliant volunteer team and NHS staff in the spinal centre, Horatio’s Garden Scotland is vibrant, fun and comforting place to be. 

“It’s great talking to Sallie and doing activities in the garden. I love harvesting (and eating!) the fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly when we make up recipes with them and share what we’ve made with others.” 

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 Scotland 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. 


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. 


James Alexander-Sinclair is one of the UK’s foremost garden designers. He brought Horatio’s Garden Scotland to life and despite having created countless stunning gardens from the Western Isles to the outskirts of Moscow, he maintains that this garden is his all-time favourite. He often visits the garden and admits “invariably and unashamedly, I cry every time I go there.” 

Additionally, James is an award-winning writer, a compelling speaker, frequent broadcaster and an elected member of the Council of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). He is Chairman of the RHS Gardens Committee and is also an RHS judge. 

He often appears on television and has featured as part of the BBC coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show since 2008. He also writes regularly for Gardeners’ World magazine, alongside a host of other publications and together with fellow garden designers Cleve West and Joe Swift established the somewhat legendary YouTube channel Three Men Went to Mow. 


The Design

James’ design is divided into six distinct spaces, each with a different purpose. The varied areas were thoughtfully created to stimulate the different senses, primarily focussing on sight, smell and touch. This all helps to support patients’ sense of wellbeing, with research demonstrating that any and all contact with nature helps to reduce stress, improve sleep and increase production of serotonin. 

The gorgeous courtyard garden has become the heart of the spinal centre, offering an oasis of calm in the midst of the clinical environment. There are numerous garden pods for patients to spend time in alone, with family or with fellow patients, which all look out onto flowerbeds brimming with colour and life. The slightly larger kitchen pod is particularly popular as this is where tea and cake can be found! 

As you move through the garden, a glasshouse and garden therapy area feature alongside each other, enabling patients to engage in all kinds of greenfingered activities both indoors and outdoors. In 2021, the sanctuary became home to a brand new garden room too, meaning seasonal events, creativity and friendship can all flourish come rain or shine. 

The wards look out over the woodland garden, which is framed by a collection of beautiful Betula pendula trees, whilst the flowerbeds are awash with colour thanks to flowers such as Echinacea Hot Summer, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Fat Domino’. 


“Working for Horatio’s Garden as the Head Gardener in Scotland has opened my eyes to the amazing optimism that patients with spinal injuries can muster in recovery, but also how much strength they gain from being in a garden environment. It’s a pleasure to help patients engage in their greenspace, to take part in interesting and meaningful activities, to take notice of seasonal changes and help them to reconnect to the ever-changing world around them. It is all about planting seeds of hope, quite literally!”

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 Scotland - Glasgow
Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
1345 Govan Rd
G51 4TF

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