Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville opened in 2018 at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The spinal centre is one of the largest and oldest in the UK, with an inpatient capacity for 106 adult patients and 9 additional adolescent and paediatric beds. Consequently, it serves people from across the British Isles and Ireland, primarily taking referrals from the south and Home Counties.
Celebrated garden designer and RHS Chelsea Gold Medal winner, Joe Swift, created the garden. Thanks to his careful, thoughtful designs, the space beyond the spinal centre became a place of natural beauty and repose, giving patients and their loved ones a fully accessible oasis to retreat to. The project was expertly managed throughout by Owen Hemmings of the Robert Lombardelli Partnership, enabling Joe’s designs to become an exquisite reality.
“The garden has transformed Alfie’s admissions for him and for us all as a family. He loves to be outside and to escape the confines of the ward is a wonderful thing for him.”
Head Gardener, Amy Moffett, nurtures the garden and holds regular horticultural therapy sessions, with patients often joining her in groups and on a 1:1 basis. Seed sowing and potting on are popular pursuits, particularly in the spring. She is supported by a part time garden administrator and a fantastic volunteer team, who often run creative activities for patients, including the relaxed, ever entertaining Poetry & Patisseries group.
“Spending time in the garden and the garden room daily soothed my pain. It helped me with my recovery, allowed me to focus on the positives.”
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 Stoke Mandeville 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 email@example.com 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.
Joe Swift is an RHS Chelsea Gold Medal Winner and has been presenting BBC Gardeners’ World since 1998. Having studied garden design at The English Gardening School, based at the Chelsea Physic Garden, in 1990, he has created many gorgeous gardens throughout his career.
Despite his impressive contribution to the world of landscape architecture, it is Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville that he regards as “the most important garden I’ve ever designed.” Whilst every one of his creations brings joy, the knowledge that this garden would “affect hundreds of patients and their families and friends” made bringing it to life “a real honour”.
He continues to reappear regularly in the haven, developing the established planting in collaboration with the team and alike to his fellow Horatio’s Garden designers lends support to the charity however he can.
Joe’s design features numerous secluded areas for patients to enjoy either on their own, or with their visitors. Here people can be surrounded by nature, with grasses creating structure and gently providing a space for people to both reflect and quietly catch up with loved ones.
The highly perennial, sensory planting is wildlife friendly and ensures the garden is a swathe of colour all year round, whilst evergreens lend constant form throughout the changing seasons.
Architect Andrew Wells designed the garden room, which provides a place for patients to appreciate Horatio’s Garden even when the weather is poor. It is a light, airy sanctuary, where people can make a cup of tea, share lunch with their family and friends, as well as participate the activities offered by the charity. Beyond is a communal space for gatherings, where patients can get to know each other and everyone can enjoy seasonal events organised by the Horatio’s Garden team.
An accessible greenhouse has been specially equipped for patients to grow their own plants, whilst the raised beds are also perfect for garden therapy sessions. The planters are often full of herbs, salad leaves and fruits, which patients are welcome to pick. Meanwhile, apple trees are amongst the many to have been planted, not only for their edibles, but for their elegant blossom.
Please click here if you would like to read the full Design & Access Statement
We warmly welcomed Amy to the team in Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville in January 2021. She is a Kew-trained horticulturalist, with a passion for all things bright and beautiful. Her love of plants, trees, fungi and wildlife is no secret and as a maker of beautiful jewellery, Amy is a wonderful source of support, creativity and encouragement for everyone spending time in the National Spinal Injuries Centre.
“I am absolutely delighted to be a part of the team here at Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville. It’s a real privilege to be able to contribute to such a great cause while nurturing such a beautiful garden! Former Head Gardener, Jacqui Martin-Löf, clearly had such a positive impact during her time here and in taking the reins now I hope to continue to help facilitate positivity and hope for many more patients with spinal injuries into the future.”
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 Stoke Mandeville
The National Spinal Injuries Centre
Stoke Mandeville Hospital