I’m sure we can all remember the particular joy that gardens gave us during the dark days of lockdown. Gardeners of course have always known the benefits that green spaces can bring.
This fact was brought home to me recently when I spent time in the Florence Nightingale Garden at St Thomas’s Hospital, Southwark – happily as a guest, not a patient or loved-one of a patient. The theme of the garden is ‘nurture through nature’.
The archivist in me loved the fact that enlarged extracts from Florence Nightingale’s letters in which she campaigned for healthcare reform featured in the original design, printed onto the boundary walls and overlaid with images of her pressed flower collection.
The Burdett Trust for Nursing sponsored the garden to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Created for the 2021 RHS Chelsea Show (winning a Silver Medal for designer Robert Myers) it has been transplanted to St Thomas’s Hospital, where Florence Nightingale established her school for nurses in 1860. Guy’s and Thomas’s Charity provided financial support to establish the garden on its new site.
The garden is available for patients, staff and visitors to seek calm and respite in the hardest times.
Robert Myers talks about the inspiration for the garden here:
The website of the Burdett Fund for Nursing has some more information about the project, including time-lapse footage of the set-up at Chelsea.
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