Horatio’s Garden Therapy in the garden
A greenhouse that is used for growing plants and therapy sessions in the garden. A meeting place where to have a coffee. A refuge.
We would like in many countries that all our politicians have an exemplary attitude and, far from encouraging us every day to civil disobedience, motivate us to be more supportive and collaborate where citizens’ taxes are not enough.
I refer to the work of volunteering, yes, to that human gesture that allows hospitals destined to be a dull space, where sick people and relatives have no consolation, to become places where plants are a breath of life and help to give light to days destined to be gray.
I have long wanted to talk about Horatio’s Garden, the garden that was created two years ago in a center specialized in the treatment of spinal cord injuries: Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Center, in the English city of Salisbury in Wiltshire.
Why that name? Horatio Chappel, son of a surgeon of that hospital, worked as a volunteer and called attention to the idea of creating a garden in the 1,500 m2 that was sadly underutilized. He could not get to see the garden, because he died in 2011, at the age of 17, during an expedition to the Svalbard archipelago – Norway – where he killed a polar bear. After his tragic death, there was an avalanche of donations to make this garden a reality, which now, as a tribute, bears his name.
The garden was created by Cleve West, renowned designer (Five of his gardens have won gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and two have won Best In Show) established in London. He was familiar with that hospital because he used to go to him many times to visit a friend admitted there. It was depressing, he confesses, and it was a challenge to create that magic between the cold architecture of the building and the large parking lot of the hospital.
Divided the space with dry stone walls in the form of thorns. Logically, I was limited in the creation of unevenness in the garden. The design of the plantation was based on perennials and vivacious, for which, he confesses, he was inspired by the tastes of Piet Oudolf, in order to get light, movement and textures that remain during the four seasons of the year. In addition, it has managed to attract beneficial birds and insects. But the most important thing is that the day to day of patients, family members and healthcare staff has a little more brightness, a class of emotions and effects that can never be achieved with a credit card.
Now that garden is maintained by Tina Crossley with the help of volunteers and this month The English Garden magazine publishes a very interesting article, which I share with the BBC video that was filmed last September. You can also take a look at the website of Horatio’s Garden and follow its updates on social networks, where it is proven that the project is a reality and its objectives seem to have been met. Everything is possible when there is good will, do not you think?