Home Page

'It makes you feel hopeful' - What to expect from our new rehab garden

The director behind our new Jubilee Rehabilitation Garden at Hillingdon Hospital says it will bring hope and optimism to patients who experience it.

Tom Stuart-Smith, the gardener and landscape architect who has led projects for royalty and who has designed winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, has overseen the creation of the garden over the past couple of months with Hillingdon Hospitals Charity.

The garden, which is situated next to the Jubilee Building and is in its final stages before the official opening this summer, will provide an oasis of calm for patients and staff alike at the hospital.

Speaking on our weekly podcast, Tom explained what he hoped patients would take away from a visit to the green space.

"I hope that they will always see something changing, almost from day to day, and different plants coming into flower," he said.

"I remember when I made another garden and uncannily a friend of mine broke his back and was in hospital for about three months. I went to see him and he said to me, 'it's not so much the garden, it's what the garden brings with it.'

"This is the socialising aspect of the garden - the insects, the birds, the wildlife. It brings with it just a sense of action.

"The trouble is that a hospital day rotates around the consultant's ward round, that's the big event of the day and maybe the the meal. This is necessary and fundamental to getting better but not exactly often the thing of great joy and and hope.

"I think if you can bring these these little moments of anchoring hope into people's lives when they're starting to get better, then they have the potential to shift people's whole mindset from an injury or predicament they are in that is the beginning of the end of hope and beginning the end of their life, to it just being something which they can get over and get out of, and is actually going to make them a stronger person in some way.

"Sometimes little events or little positive things in our life, whether it's somebody giving you a word of encouragement, a little nudge in the right direction or something that you see - maybe it's a book you read, or a film, and maybe it's a garden that you see - has this ability to push you over the edge because of the contact with the garden.

"I would hope that somebody visiting the garden would come out of it and talk about that it was a great thing for the hospital to have done, that it makes you feel hopeful, not just about yourself but about the way that the way that we treat and look after each other.

"The garden is in itself a place that you have to look after. Petronella is looking after the garden really well at the moment and the fact that that she is looking after the garden says something about our attitudes towards nature and towards people.

"This is fundamental and I think people who are in the context of a cared-for garden, also feel cared for themselves. It follows on from from that."

Listen to the podcast in full or watch it here as Tom talks more about the garden, how he got involved in the project and the importance for people of having access to green spaces.

We have placed cookies on your computer to help make this website better. You can at any time read our cookie policy. Otherwise, we will assume that you're OK to continue.

Please choose a setting: