“This garden makes a huge difference to the lives of countless patients and their tireless support systems”
Rhianna Colyer, ITU nurse

Tips from the garden by Head Gardener, Brenda Prada. After volunteering with us in the garden, in January 2024 Brenda came on board as Head Gardener for the Harefield Healing Garden. Brenda brings with her a wealth of expertise and is a real asset to our team.

Summer Watering tips
Gardening practices are ever evolving and thinking about reduced water and chemical use in gardening is an important feature of gardening now. We have two water butts here in the garden, the water from which we use to establish newly planted out annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Now that it seems that summer has finally arrived, to avoid evaporation, it’s best not to water in full sun so mornings or evenings are a good time. Plants in containers do, of course, need watering frequently, which could mean several times a day in very hot weather. The good thing about containers is that they are easier to move into shadier areas if the plants are suffering in full sun.

Our plants come from many different areas across the world and have adapted to require different conditions, so it is useful to observe which plants are more drought tolerant than others in our own gardens and water only if necessary to reduce our water usage. Some plants, such as succulents, are able to deal with very dry, hot weather as they can adapt to hot spells by reducing water loss, while other plants may visibly suffer and need more attention during hot weather.

Tips from the garden by Head Gardener, Brenda Prada. After volunteering with us in the garden, in January 2024 Brenda came on board as Head Gardener for the Harefield Healing Garden. Brenda brings with her a wealth of expertise and is a real asset to our team.

Summer Watering tips
Gardening practices are ever evolving and thinking about reduced water and chemical use in gardening is an important feature of gardening now. We have two water butts here in the garden, the water from which we use to establish newly planted out annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Now that it seems that summer has finally arrived, to avoid evaporation, it’s best not to water in full sun so mornings or evenings are a good time. Plants in containers do, of course, need watering frequently, which could mean several times a day in very hot weather. The good thing about containers is that they are easier to move into shadier areas if the plants are suffering in full sun.

Our plants come from many different areas across the world and have adapted to require different conditions, so it is useful to observe which plants are more drought tolerant than others in our own gardens and water only if necessary to reduce our water usage. Some plants, such as succulents, are able to deal with very dry, hot weather as they can adapt to hot spells by reducing water loss, while other plants may visibly suffer and need more attention during hot weather.

“To have this wonderful garden for patients to access is fabulous for wellbeing and health”
Katharine Scott, Trust lead for Older People and Physical Disability

The Garden design and build

Leading landscape and garden designers Bowles & Wyer have created this fabulous garden, designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winning Garden Designer, James Smith, taking into account input from patients, their relatives, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and Occupational Therapists, among other hospital staff. Using their considerable experience in creating hospital gardens they have brought this accessible and therapeutic garden to life at Harefield Hospital.

Meet James Smith the garden designer

James is a RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal-winning Garden designer, Chartered Landscape Architect, and Registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers. Former Design Director with Landscape company Bowles & Wyer, James set up James Smith Landscape & Garden Design in 2021, winning a gold medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2023. James continues to support the Healing Garden, visiting frequently and providing us with the benefit of his expertise.

Biodiversity in the garden. In 2021 when the Healing Garden was created from half an acre of mown grass, increasing biodiversity was an important factor in the planning. But nobody had any real idea of the astonishing impact that the change in the environment would have on the insects, invertebrates and birdlife in the garden.

Ian, a long-term in-patient, has watched the garden grow, documenting and photographing the insect and bird life that find food and shelter in the garden day by day which we rarely look close enough to see, and observing the change in biodiversity in the Garden.

Ian has kindly documented his findings:
Birds seen in the garden:
 Great spotted woodpecker (seen in the morning, late evening and weekends when few people are around), Waxwing (Migratory flock of 60-100 birds seen at the beginning of the year. They ate the fruits of three Rowan trees in 4 days.), Tree creeper, Wren, Goldfinch (small flock half a dozen), Blue Tit, Long Tail Tit, Wood pigeon, Red Kite, House sparrow, Magpie, Crow, Raven, Green Parakeets

Butterflies: Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White (aka Cabbage Patch Butterfly), Small White, Holly Blue, Small Blues, Painted Lady, Specked Wood, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak

Moths: Jersey Tiger, Mint Moth

Insects and flies: Green stink bug, Brown marmorated stink bug, Parent bug, Ladybug, Asian lady beetle, Pollen beetles, Hoverflies, Damselflies, Dragonfly, Small scissor bees, Buffish bee, Mining Bees(all three are solitary bees, which live in places like the Bug Hotel), Various other common insects.

We manage the health of the garden without pesticides so as not to kill beneficial organisms and we accept the presence of some weeds and insect damage to plants. Different shapes and structures in the garden – trees, tall shrubs and climbers have created vertical spaces for birds and insects to shelter whilst lower-growing perennials, grasses and ground cover plants enable a greater variety of different habitats, and a mix of plants for different seasons enables insects, invertebrates and birds to find food and shelter.

Our newly sown wildflower meadow will soon add a richer diversity of native flowers and encourage even more beneficial insects and pollinators, including a wider variety of butterflies. In autumn and winter the trees and shrubs offer up fruits and berries to add to the different interlocking food sources for various forms of wildlife which add to the biodiversity in the garden.

Photos taken by Ian, in the Healing Garden.

 

Patients say that the garden helps them
“feel part of the world”

This garden is funded entirely by the generosity of people like you. Any amount, no matter how great or small, helps to ensure that The Healing Garden will always be there for those who need it.

We need to raise £40,000 a year to cover the cost of professional help, tools, materials, plants and insurance to keep the garden in top condition. 

All funds raised to go to the Harefield Healing Garden; a restricted appeal of the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, Registered Charity No. 1053584