Click here for garden images

Watch ITV Meridian’s film about Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville.

The third Horatio’s Garden opened on the 9th September 2018. The build was expertly project managed by Owen Hemmings of the Robert Lombardelli Partnership. We have seen the most incredible transition, as Joe Swift’s Design took shape from drawings to the stunning garden it is today. Jacqui Martin-Lof as Head Gardener has been instrumental in bringing the garden to life and welcoming new volunteers to continue to take the garden forward into the new phase.

Without the generous support and funding from many wonderful individuals, donors, businesses and institutions we would not have been able to make this garden a reality. 

We are now looking for on going to support to cover the costs of maintaining the gardens and all the events and activities which the charity puts on in the garden for patients. These are the essence of Horatio’s Garden and make such a difference for people spending so long in hospital.

The NSIC is one of the oldest and largest spinal injuries centres with an inpatient capacity for 106 adult patients and 9 adolescent and paediatric beds. With patients often being so far from their family and friends, it is vital for them to have a space where they can enjoy their time together and also have some privacy.

Could you volunteer, become a friend, donate, or fundraise?

“If there was a garden, it would make a huge difference. Just somewhere to sit, reflect, take your family, pretend you’re not in hospital for just five minutes” Lynn Power, patient at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville.



Joe Swift, an RHS Gold medal winner and presenter of BBC Gardeners’ World, is designing Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville.

He studied garden design at The English Gardening School based at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1990 and started presenting Gardeners’ World in 1998. He now designs gardens, presents on TV and writes.

The brief was to transform the outside space to something that brings nature and beauty close to the spinal unit, giving patients and their relatives, an accessible oasis of calm in the clinical environment.

Joe said “It is a real honour to be designing Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville, a garden which will affect hundreds of patients and their families and friends.”

Horatio’s Garden’s team of designers, Joe Swift, James Alexander-Sinclair and Cleve West, can be seen in their Three Men Went To Mow films.

The Design

The new garden has secluded areas for patients to be on their own or with visitors, a rill and water feature. The highly perennial, sensory planting has created fabulous swathes of colour, for all year round whilst evergreens will give winter structure. The planting is bird and butterfly friendly.

A garden room, designed by architect Andrew Wells, provides a place for patients to enjoy the garden even when the weather is poor. It is  a light airy sanctuary where patients can make a cup of tea, share lunch with visitors and participate in the volunteer led activities which the charity runs.

Outside the garden room is a communal space  for gatherings of patients – for lunches outside and live music.

An accessible greenhouse has been specially equipped for patients to help with the gardening and will be used to propagate plants for the garden. Patients can get involved with working with the head gardener and volunteers or just come and chat and watch. Regular garden therapy groups will use the greenhouse and the raised beds for therapeutic activities. Herbs, salad leaves and fruit will be grown for patients to pick and eat. Apples are some of the many trees which have been planted.

Download the design and access statement HERE


Jacqui joined the Horatio’s Garden team in the role of Head Gardener.

“Having worked in a girls’ school for the last 12 years teaching Gardening and Forest School I feel very privileged to have now been given yet another wonderful opportunity in joining Horatio’s Garden team. Being part of something so needed, so worthwhile, so valued through the healing powers of gardens is quite an honour, and an honour indeed to continue the legacy of such an inspiring young man, Horatio Chapple.

The accessibility to the garden directly off the wards gives patients, their friends and families an invitation to easily access the sanctuary of the garden. By entering the garden the patients move away from the sounds of the sterile wards and into the fresh air with the sounds of the water feature, the wind in the trees and the sound of the birds. This, the third Horatio’s Garden, is very nearly in every respect in full bloom!”

Jacqui Martin-Lof is Head Gardener at Horatio's Garden Stoke Mandeville and is responsible for the care and maintenance of the garden.

Head Gardener's Tips

Patient Activities

Christmas Activities

Christmas Activities

5, 12 & 19 December, NSIC Arts Rehab in the Garden Room – Christmas Crafts

Christmas Activities

Christmas Activities

11 December Pipers Corner School Christmas Choir, 2-3pm in The Garden Room. Christmas Carols for ...


How to find us

Horatio's Garden Stoke Mandeville
Mandeville Road
HP21 8AL

To arrange a visit to Horatio’s Garden please contact Head Gardener
Jacqui Martin-Lof on

Sign up for the Horatio's Garden newsletter

Contact Us