© Lucy Shergold
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Horatio's Garden London & South East

Horatio’s Garden is a wonderful charity that creates gardens to support those recovering from life altering spinal injuries. The work and support undoubtedly benefits those who experience the gardens and we’re delighted to be involved with this project at The London Spinal Cord Injury Centre at RNOH Stanmore.

The idea for the garden is to provide two spaces that offer contrasting atmospheres. The first is a more socially active space situated around a garden room designed by architect Stephen Marshall. The structure will act as a focal point and allow patients, their families and volunteers to enjoy the garden collectively. Here the planting emphasis is on warm colours, texture and evergreens to give the garden interest throughout the year. A propagation bench in the garden room and mobile raised beds designed for wheelchair users offer the opportunity for creative engagement at a time where independence is a difficult resource to grasp. Combined with a BBQ area, various benches amongst the flower beds and the garden room, the space will provide prospects of growth and opportunities for meeting people during this difficult period of recovery.

In contrast, the courtyard garden is a leafier quieter space to create somewhere more contemplative. Four garden pods designed by Stephen Marshall provide temperature-controlled rooms from which to experience the plants and wildlife at all times of year. Double opening doors and windows perforating the structure mean that whether open or closed, patients in the pods will feel very much amongst the plants. Habitat boxes will encourage the presence of wildlife and heighten the prospects of the patient’s interactions with nature. Existing birch trees will be supplemented with the same species to create a calm and naturalistic garden structure. The shrub and herbaceous layer will then have a tranquil palette of green foliage and cooler colours with blues, whites and purples. After such a life altering event, a place that can offer a moment of respite or hope will be invaluable to the patients of the spinal centre.

Horatio’s Garden London & South East opened and welcomed patients and NHS staff in September 2020.