Horatio’s Garden South West opened in 2012 at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury District Hospital. The spinal centre serves patients from across the whole of the south of England, from the Isles of Scilly to Hastings and all the way up to the M4 corridor.
The garden was brought to life by celebrated garden designed Cleve West, who has won a remarkable total of six RHS Gold Medals for his gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show. Martin Gomm of Wycliffe Landscapes was the contractor for the project and in 2014 went on to win two BALI awards; one in the Community and Schools Development category and another in the Outstanding Charitable Contribution category.
“Thank you so much for providing us with this beautiful garden to enjoy – our little bit of heaven during a traumatic time for us all.”
A wonderful Head Gardener, Lucy Thorpe, is responsible for the care and maintenance of the garden, whilst they also run horticultural therapy sessions in collaboration with the spinal centre’s Occupational Therapists. The Head Gardener is supported by part-time Garden Administrator, Annabel Turner, along with a team of incredible volunteers, who in 2019 received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Together they nurture the garden and ensure there’s always a warm and welcoming environment awaiting everyone who visits the sanctuary.
“To me, it’s just as important as all the physio and stuff that goes on in the hospital. To me, it’s very calming and relaxing. It lets me forget what’s going on inside and then when you go back in, you go back in with a much clearer mind. You’re in a better place to concentrate on what you have to do.”
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 South West 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Cleve West has been designing award-winning gardens since 1990 and is a six-time RHS Chelsea Gold Medal winner. He created Horatio’s Garden South West, with his designs going on to win three Society of Garden Designers awards in 2015. His contribution was recognised with the Public or Commercial Outdoor Space Award, the People’s Choice Award and the most prestigious accolade, the Judge’s Award.
Of Horatio’s Garden South West the Judges said: “This is what healing gardens should be like; if only they all had a similar design. It has beautiful planting that works with the scale of the building and helps to reconnect people to nature.”
Since bringing the stunning sanctuary to life, Cleve has regularly revisited Horatio’s Garden and continues to work with our Head Gardener to develop all aspects of the haven, ensuring this special place will remain forever beautiful.
Cleve’s design brilliantly incorporates the form of a spine in a series of low limestone walls, which double as seating for families. These walls draw the eye to the gentle hills beyond and curve through mixed planting towards a large gathering space.
The sanctuary features a garden room, glasshouse and outdoor horticultural therapy area, where patients can enjoy spending time in the garden appreciating nature whatever the weather. Whilst the garden room is a social space, where cake, company and creative workshops are in plentiful supply, the glasshouse and therapy area are places where patients can calmly gather for gardening groups or 1:1 sessions with the Head Gardener. All this helps to support patients’ physical rehabilitation and psychological wellbeing.
An apple archway leads to a summerhouse, where people can quietly spend time reflecting alone or speak privately with a few of their loved ones. Running the length of the archway is a long rill, so the comforting sound of flowing water is never far away.
Plants have been chosen for their aesthetic and multi-sensory qualities; grasses to catch the wind, herbs to smell and taste, along with shrubs and trees for texture and winter structure. Mature beech hedging was donated from Cleve West’s 2012 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden, which was awarded Best in Show. There are 23 trees planted in the garden, including Betula nigra and Amelanchier lamarckii, the berries of which attract birds to the garden. Shaggy box balls and rosemary punctuate a looser herbaceous palette, and perennials such as echinacea, foeniculum, aster and the aptly named Aruncus ‘Horatio’ bring texture, colour and scent.
Lucy has been working in horticultural therapy and education for the past 15 years. She is happiest sharing her love of gardening and nature with others and supporting them to discover the benefits of horticulture for their mental health and wellbeing. Her passion is fruit and vegetable growing and she has had an allotment for the last 13 years.
Having completed a Professional Diploma in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture at Coventry University in 2013, Lucy subsequently worked for over six years with a military charity. Throughout her work with the charity in Tidworth, she managed a productive fruit and vegetable garden, whilst she simultaneously led and offered educational and therapeutic gardening programmes to military veterans, serving personnel and their families.
Following her work there, Lucy began lending her time to the Defence Gardens Scheme CIC as a Volunteer Horticultural Therapist, whilst she is also currently a freelance Nature-Based Therapist. Both give her enormous insight into the power of the natural world to help people, something she’s looking forward to seeing more of and facilitating as Head Gardener too.
Working alongside patients and volunteers to nurture our South West sanctuary will be a great privilege and Lucy’s enthusiasm for all things great and green is guaranteed to bring the benefits of gardens and gardening to lots of people for many years to come.
Click below to hear more from our Head Gardeners about how to get the best out of your gardens all year round!
Horatio's Garden South West - Salisbury
The Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre
Salisbury District Hospital