Building works have started!
Building work has started on the beautiful garden for patients at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville hospital and should take 6 months to complete.
The build is being expertly project managed by Owen Hemmings of the Robert Lombardelli Partnership. The landscape contractors are Garden Link run by Dan Flynn with his brilliant team including Jason, Matt and Jack. The project is being supported by Sir Robert McAlpine and Keltbray who have generously removed the spoil from the site.
The National Gardens Scheme have generously given a £135,000 grant to this project under their Gardens and Health Initiative.
Thank you for all your help to make Joe Swift’s plans become 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. The centre can see up to 800 inpatients treated in one year, as well as 4,000 appointments for outpatients. It looks after patients from a wide area of the country, with the catchment area reaching from West Midlands all the way down to Kent. For children, referrals are accepted for all of the British Isles and Ireland. 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.
“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 proposed garden will include secluded areas for patients to be on their own or with visitors, a rill and water feature. The highly perennial, sensory planting will create fabulous swathes of colour all year round whilst evergreens will give winter structure. The planting will be bird and butterfly friendly.
A garden room, designed by architect Andrew Wells, will provide a place for patients to enjoy the garden even when the weather is poor. It will be 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 a communal space will be used for gatherings of patients – for lunches outside and live music.
An accessible greenhouse will be specially equipped for patient 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 will be some of the many trees which will be planted.
Download the design and access statement HERE
Jacqui has recently joined 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 has recently started in her role as Head Gardener at Horatio's Garden Stoke Mandeville and will be responsible for the care and maintenance of the garden, currently during building and after the garden is completed.
"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 fund raising 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
To arrange a visit to Horatio’s Garden please contact Head Gardener
Jacqui Martin-Lof on email@example.com