Since 2011, the charity set up in memory of Horatio Chapple, who was researching a garden at the spinal injuries unit where he volunteered, has built several gardens with the aim to eventually have one in all 11 NHS spinal injury units in the UK. The eighth garden will start its life at RHS Chelsea 2023 before being relocated to Sheffield.
A garden for recovery
The space, designed by Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg, is removed from the clinical hospital environment, and is designed so it can be enjoyed from a bed or wheelchair.
More on Horatio’s Garden at RHS Chelsea 2023
Horatio’s mother and chair of trustees at the charity, Dr Olivia Chapple explained: “The garden at Chelsea, which is going to form the heart of the garden at Sheffield, is an important landmark. It’s the second biggest spinal injuries centre in the UK, so it’s a big project for us.
Dr Chapple adds: “ We’re building beautifully designed, accessible gardens in NHS spinal injury centres to improve the lives of people with spinal injuries and also their families and friends, who are equally going through a really traumatic time.
“When you’ve got a beautiful place which is inspiring, and the antithesis of a clinical environment, it lets people open up to be receptive to things they might otherwise not have done in their lives.”
Once we’ve built the gardens we run them as projects, with creative arts schemes, all designed around improving a very long hospital stay. When you’ve got a beautiful place which is inspiring, and the antithesis of a clinical environment, it lets people open up to be receptive to things they might otherwise not have done elsewhere in their lives, whether it’s music or art or craft or garden therapy.”
A therapeutic space whatever the season
While each NHS garden is designed by a different designer, there are themes and principles that run through them all, as Dr Chapple explained. “The key promise is that this should be an all-year-round beautiful garden. It’s not the type of garden you would generally find in a hospital setting which tend to be around making a low-maintenance garden.”
“This is a group of people who are in hospital for six months to a year, so hospital becomes home. They have the benefit of seeing things grow, so they can grow a salad or grow their annuals and see them flower. When control has gone out of your life, it’s a really nourishing thing to do.”
Find out more on Horatio's Garden at https://www.horatiosgarden.org.uk/
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