Horatio’s Garden: An Accessible Therapy Garden

Horatio’s Garden: An Accessible Therapy Garden

This month sees the official opening of an incredibly special garden that we’re delighted to have played a small part in helping create.

Owen Griffiths - Horatio's Garden's Head Gardener

Owen Griffiths - Head Gardener at Horatio's Garden Wales

About Horatio’s Garden

Horatio’s Garden is a unique charity creating beautiful, fully accessible gardens in NHS spinal injury centres around the UK. Their latest garden is in Cardiff at The Welsh Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre, University Hospital Llandough.

Bethan Cummings, Director of Fundraising for Horatio’s Garden said: “The gardens are designed to improve the lives of people living with spinal injuries, their family and friends. Once the garden has been created, we employ a Head Gardener to maintain the stunning sanctuaries and we provide a programme of activities for patients to support their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.”

The charity was founded by Dr Olivia Chapple based on an idea her son Horatio had whilst volunteering in the spinal centre at Salisbury Hospital. Horatio was tragically killed whilst on an expedition aged just 17, but through the charity his idea lives on.

Bethan said: “We have now created six beautiful gardens in his memory which are improving the lives of thousands of people living with spinal injury.”


 

Horatio’s Garden: An Accessible Therapy Garden

Staff and patients enjoying the new garden

Using Garden Therapy To Positively Impact Patients

Horatio’s Garden Wales has been designed by acclaimed Welsh garden designer Sarah Price, whose creations have won numerous awards including Gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018 for the M&G Garden and in 2012 for her Telegraph Garden.

Inspired by the Welsh countryside, the garden is an inviting space that engages all the senses with seasonal colour, aroma and produce, plus the attendant wildlife this attracts. The space will allow direct contact with nature for the therapeutic benefit of patients, their visitors and staff, providing a respite from the clinical environment of the wards. A large, heated garden pavilion means the garden can be enjoyed year-round regardless of weather conditions, so patients always have somewhere beautiful and peaceful to retreat to.

Patients have been able to enjoy the new outdoor space and access the benefits of garden therapy since May, and it’s gone down a storm so far. One patient, Carl Webster, told us he is in awe of the green addition to the hospital grounds, saying: “When they said there would be a garden I thought it would be a little garden with a few plants and trees, but when I came out it was ‘WOW’! I’m loving this garden so much.”

Caroline Ryan, Ward Receptionist, also shared her thoughts on how the new unit will impact people’s lives: “Horatio’s Garden will make a huge difference to the patients. A lovely environment for them to enjoy fresh air and flowers and to be able to sit with their family in lovely surroundings”.


 

Horatio’s Garden: An Accessible Therapy Garden

Malvern Garden Buildings' part office, part shed Holt Apex in Horatio's Garden Wales

The new garden in Cardiff features a part office, part shed Holt Apex building, which will act as an office for Head Gardener Owen Griffiths, providing a comfortable, sheltered space for admin tasks and planning, as well as valuable storage for the team of volunteers who assist him.

Owen said: “The shed is a gateway into our beautiful garden sanctuary. Well used and loved by all, it is the perfect home for our tools and equipment.”

When asked why Horatio’s Garden chose a Malvern Garden Building for their new garden, Bethan explained: “The quality of the building speaks for itself. Our gardens are created with a high specification and ensure the comfort and safety of the patients at all times, and Malvern’s garden building fits perfectly with this ethos.”


 

Whilst they did take a little time out to enjoy an opening party at the Wales garden, work never stops for this wonderful charity. Since completing the space in Cardiff, Horatio’s Garden have launched their Northern Ireland project which will be located at Musgraves Hospital in Belfast. The charity is fundraising at the moment, with the aim of starting the build in November 2022 – if you’d like to support them, please head to their website at www.horatiosgarden.org.uk.