National charity Horatio’s Garden opens its sixth garden at The Welsh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre, University Hospital Llandough

Garden will support patients with life-changing spinal injuries in their rehabilitation and enable them to spend time in nature with loved ones

A national charity that creates and nurtures gardens in spinal centres across the UK has opened its sixth garden – and the first and only in Wales – at The Welsh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre, University Hospital Llandough.

The garden, designed by two-time RHS Chelsea Gold Medal winner Sarah Price, has been built just beyond the ward doors for patients and their loved ones to enjoy the healing power of nature as they adjust to living with life-changing injuries.

The garden has been delivered by Horatio’s Garden, a national charity improving the lives of everyone affected by spinal injury by creating beautiful gardens in NHS spinal injury centres.

The charity’s gardens give patients and families the space to establish vital support networks, whilst Horatio’s Garden also run horticultural and creative therapy sessions to help patients throughout their mental and physical rehabilitation. The gardens are also a haven for NHS staff; they thoughtfully incorporate them into the clinical care of patients and regularly retreat to them on breaks to benefit their mental well-being.

The new Horatio’s Garden at Llandough has been designed by Sarah Price, an award-winning Welsh garden designer who has had a prestigious career. She is renowned for her artistic, naturalistic planting style in such projects as the Olympic Park and a garden at Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery.

Sarah has created a beautiful garden sanctuary for patients at Llandough and has collaborated with 6a architects to create the garden pavilion. From the outset, Sarah was passionate about incorporating as many elements of the Welsh landscape into her designs as possible, despite the space being the smallest of the charity’s gardens to date.

She has devoted different spaces to different sources of horticultural inspiration, with a moss garden, shed garden, scented garden, meadow garden, vegetable garden, flower garden and an ‘orchard hall’ incorporated.

The garden is easily accessible from the spinal injury centre so that patients in hospital beds and wheelchairs can use the space with their friends and family or as a haven of quiet sanctuary. There is also a roof terrace garden close to the ward, especially for high dependency patients to use in their hospital beds.

Professor Charles Janczewski, Chair of Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, said:

“I firmly believe that the new Horatio’s Garden will bring immense benefit to our patients both physically and psychologically. I am also convinced that our staff, who do such wonderful work to care for their patients, will also gain considerably from the environment that the garden will provide.”

Rhian, a previous patient of The Welsh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre, said:

“When I heard Wales was going to have a purpose-built Horatio’s Garden at Llandough Hospital, something went through me which is hard to explain. I know from my own experience what it meant to be able to go outside to feel the fresh air. To be with my family away from the clinical environment helped no end with my rehabilitation. To have a bespoke garden with all of the small details considered to make it easily accessible for people with low mobility will be tremendous.”

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