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; Joe Swift’s designs were brought to life and became the stunning garden we see before us today. Having Jacqui Martin-Lof as Head Gardener has been instrumental in bringing the garden to life and we have welcomed many new volunteers who will continue to ensure the garden flourishes for evermore.
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 ongoing support to cover the costs of maintaining the gardens and all the events and activities which the charity offers in the garden for patients. These are the essence of Horatio’s Garden and make such a difference for people spending long periods of time 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.
“Spending time in the garden and the garden room daily soothed my pain. It helped me with my recovery, allowed me to remember to focus on the positives.” – A patient at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville.
Joe Swift, an RHS Gold medal winner and presenter of BBC Gardeners’ World, created 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 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 offers.
Outside the garden room is a communal space for gatherings of patients, which includes outdoor lunch and live music events which the charity organises throughout the summer months.
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 can just come to 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 and apple trees are amongst the many 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 the 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 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.
Following the success of our first 'Poetry and Patisseries' workshop, patients, visitors and volunteers now have the opportunity to enjoy a session each month!
The session's most recent theme was 'Poetry to Make You Smile' and patients, staff and volunteers had a great afternoon creating yet another collaborative poem.
Everyone was brimming with ideas and there were lots of laughs along the way too.
Lots of people joined us in the garden room for another fabulous knit and natter session, where plenty of both activities took place!
The relaxed workshop ran throughout the afternoon, with some people creating a knitted keepsake, whilst others simply indulged in some tea and cake and enjoyed the good company.
Our next knit and natter session will be on Thursday 2nd April - we look forward to seeing you there!
Many people joined us in the garden for the first 'Poetry and Patisseries' class and everyone who came along had a wonderful afternoon.
Poems and cakes were shared in the garden room and on the wards, as well as a lot of laughter, memories and reminders of people's favourite verses. The group also created their first collaborative poem 'The Eclair', which was loved by all!
We will be welcoming new artist in residence, Rebecca Rason Flor Ferreira, to the garden every Monday from Monday 13th January to Monday 24th February.
Everyone is welcome to join Rebecca in the garden, whether you wish to paint alongside her, or would simply like to spend time chatting with her over a warm cup of tea.
Many patients have enjoyed creating Christmassy crafts this November and December, including Alfie who showed everyone just how wreath-making should be done!
There was a truly lovely atmosphere in the garden as we celebrated the start of the festive season with our Christmas Market. We were joined by a whole host of wonderful artisans, whilst there were also plants and crafts available which were grown and created by our brilliant volunteer team. It was a pleasure to welcome so many patients, families, friends, NHS staff and members of the public to the garden and we hope you all enjoyed the day!
Every Tuesday from 2:30pm we run a flower workshop in the garden room which is open to everyone. Patients recently created some autumnal pumpkin flowers and there will be more creativity to come this winter!
Join us in the garden from 2-4pm every Wednesday afternoon to create your own unique crafts.
Everyone is welcome, so come along if you fancy having a few hours of fun in the company of other patients, families and volunteers.
Charlie wasn't the only one who was pleased with his pumpkin flowers! Fellow patient Brandon also joined him in the 'Flowers on Tuesdays' workshop, which was a great success. The workshop used fresh pumpkins generously donated by Farmer Paul's Pumpkins, whilst the dahlias, oak leaves, asters, hydrangeas, rosemary, fir cones, poppy heads, cabbages and moss were kindly donated by the Wild Rose Flower Company. WheelPower Physical Activity Advisor, Ian Durrant, also joined us and was so impressed he donated £10 to buy one of the special Halloween arrangements!
Keith Jansz, a world-renowned mouth painter, will be painting in the garden on Thursday 10th October from 12pm-5pm. Keith spent 6 months in the NSIC following a car accident in 1995 and whilst adjusting to his new way of life he was inspired to start learning to paint by mouth. Everyone is welcome to join Keith on Thursday, whether you'd like to paint alongside him, or would just like to enjoy the garden and have a chat.
A group of Year 6 girls visited the garden on Tuesday 25th June 2019 for a very special performance of songs from their summer production, Mary Poppins.
Patients, NHS staff, visitors and volunteers all enjoyed being transported back to the world of the old Disney classic and had a good sing along to many of the film's iconic tunes - including 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'!
Caroline May is our new Artist in Residence! She will begin working in the garden on Tuesday 6th August and will be with us each Tuesday for six weeks. During this time, patients and visitors are welcome to join her on a selected day a week (which will be confirmed imminently) between 12-5pm to create artwork with Caroline’s support.
Last year she was the Artist in Residence in our Scotland garden, so she is hugely excited to return to the charity and experience a brand new Horatio’s Garden.
Please speak to Jacqui, Anna, or one of our Stoke Mandeville volunteers if you’d like more information.
You can discover more about Caroline by visiting her website - www.carolineelizabethmay.com/.
Patient Aliysha-Louise recently gifted these beautiful, hand-painted pebbles to the garden to be hidden amongst the planting.
Each one includes a happy thought, so when patients or their loved ones find a pebble they will receive a little encouraging message before then re-hiding it in a new location for the next person to find.
Aliysha-Louise was inspired by the #islastones campaign, which became a worldwide movement in memory of young Isla Tansey, who had a rare form of cancer. They are a most welcome addition to the garden.
On Tuesday 4th June we welcomed patients, loved ones, guests and the one and only Anneka Rice to the garden for our Fabulous Summer Tea Party.
Over 100 people came along to the event and were hugely excited to be joining in with the charity's first national fundraising event.
The unpredictable weather did nothing to dampen spirits and guests gathered in the cosy garden room to make short work of lots of tea and cake!
Patients, their family and their friends were welcomed to the garden on Monday 6th May for a Bank Holiday Barbecue.
With over 160 guests popping to the garden to make the most of the beautiful weather, the volunteer team certainly had their work cut out!
There was a brilliant atmosphere in the garden all afternoon and patients and their loved ones were hugely grateful to everyone who made the weekend a really wonderful experience.
On 19th April 2019 we welcomed patients, their loved ones and staff to the garden for a Treasure Hunt and a spot of afternoon tea.
As ever, the Horatio’s Garden volunteers had been incredibly busy baking a variety of delicious Easter treats, and in true seasonal spirit there was an abundance of Easter Eggs too!
It was a very happy, sunny, delicious and much-appreciated afternoon. Thank you to everyone who helped to make the event a huge success.
A huge amount has been happening in our recent gardening groups, from creating kokedamas to planting 'magic beans' with numerous children.
We're thrilled to see so many people getting involved in the garden and it's particularly lovely to see some young, budding gardeners taking part too!
All patients and their loved ones were welcome to join us in the garden room on Wednesday 13th February between 2-4pm to make some homemade Valentine’s cards.
All materials were supplied, and patients created some gorgeous cards to make their special someone smile.
After all, there’s nothing quite like receiving a homemade gift!
Throughout the beginning of 2019, patients at Stoke Mandeville have been busy getting creative in our Arts Rehabilitation classes. Those currently staying in the National Spinal Injuries Centre have begun creating this marvellous installation, which will soon be brightening up the entrance of the Centre itself.
We would like to thank up and coming designer Richard Quinn for kindly donating the fabrics that enabled patients to enjoy a vibrant afternoon of cutting and sewing in the warm company of our volunteers.
We’re excited to see the final product!
Christmas crafts were underway throughout December 2018, with patients creating a variety of festive decorations and cards. We hope that they warmed the hearts of many during this holiday season!
On 11th December the Pipers Corner School Christmas Choir delighted patients, families, friends, and staff with their performance in the garden room. A spot of afternoon tea followed the sweet singing - the perfect treat on this chilly December day!
"My father Ludwig Guttmann used sport as a way of rehabilitating people with spinal cord injuries and helping them return to a normal life in society.
Horatio's Garden is a project in the same way showing people confined to wheelchairs that so much is possible .
It is also an inspiring place of beauty and activity and is a wonderful memorial to a fine young man."
"Horatio's Garden demonstrates the healing power of gardens in the most positive way possible.
It is the most worthwhile enterprise and deserves tremendous support from us all."
“I’m thrilled to be involved with this project. I’ve seen the amazing work carried out at Stoke Mandeville over the years and this garden will be a wonderful haven for patients and families. I can’t wait to see it come to life.”
"I am really delighted to be a patron supporting the fundraising appeal for a Horatio’s Garden at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville. I have seen first hand the devastating effect spinal cord injuries can have on the lives of people and their families. Treatment and recovery can mean months spent in hospital, where it’s often difficult to escape outdoors and get away from the busy clinical atmosphere inside.
The success of Horatio’s Garden in Salisbury goes to show how nature can help heal mind, body and soul, and now there is a wonderful opportunity to create a beautiful place of sanctuary and rehabilitation for patients at Stoke Mandeville.
I was lucky enough to have met Horatio on a number of occasions and can’t think of a better way to help us all continue to remember this fine young man."
"I am delighted to be a Patron of Horatio’s Garden at Stoke Mandeville. As someone who believes passionately in the great outdoors as a healer of body and soul I welcome the opportunity to be involved with the creation of Horatio’s Garden at Stoke Mandeville Spinal Unit."
"I spent 15 months in The National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC), Stoke Mandeville following a bit of a bump during the war in Bosnia in 1993. If Horatio’s Garden had been there it would have been a huge boost to be able to enjoy the serenity, beauty and social contact with others facing the life changing challenge of coping with a spinal cord injury.
It is a joy that The NSIC and its patients will be fortunate in having a Horatio’s Garden. I could not be more supportive of this stimulating addition to the first spinal centre in the world."
Horatio's Garden Stoke Mandeville