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Horatio's Garden, Salisbury Spinal Unit

By Katherine  |  19 Dec 2017 15:00:00

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Horatio's Garden
 

Following a horse-riding accident almost twenty years ago, which left me Paraplegic, I was admitted to Salisbury Spinal Unit where I spent seven months undergoing my rehabilitation.

I cannot fault the care that I received there but obviously it was an extremely difficult and traumatic time in my life.  One of the hardest things about being in a hospital unit for a long period is the lack of privacy.  I felt that there was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide when 

 you just needed some time to yourself, unless you locked yourself into a bathroom, which I remember doing on many occasions.  My husband and I did find a small farm track at the back of the hospital that led to a farm gate overlooking a field, and we would sometimes escape there, but it was not somewhere that I would feel comfortable going to on my own, especially in the very heavy cumbersome Carters wheelchair that I was given for the duration of my stay.

At a recent visit to the spinal unit, I had the very great pleasure of visiting Horatio’s Garden, a beautiful and restorative garden that has been built within the grounds of the Spinal Unit for patients whilst they are resident at the hospital.  It is a place that offers a retreat and a sanctuary for patients and their family and friends, to get away from the institutional and sometimes claustrophobic environment of the wards. It is somewhere calm and beautiful to go when you need to find some personal space.

Horatio's garden image4

 you just needed some time to yourself, unless you locked yourself into a bathroom, which I remember doing on many occasions.  My husband and I did find a small farm track at the back of the hospital that led to a farm gate overlooking a field, and we would sometimes escape there, but it was not somewhere that I would feel comfortable going to on my own, especially in the very heavy cumbersome Carters wheelchair that I was given for the duration of my stay.

At a recent visit to the spinal unit, I had the very great pleasure of visiting Horatio’s Garden, a beautiful and restorative garden that has been built within the grounds of the Spinal Unit for patients whilst they are resident at the hospital.  It is a place that offers a retreat and a sanctuary for patients and their family and friends, to get away from the institutional and sometimes claustrophobic environment of the wards. It is somewhere calm and beautiful to go when you need to find some personal space.

Horatio's garden image4

Horatio’s Garden was built to commemorate the life of Horatio Chapple, who was tragically killed by a polar bear on an expedition to the Arctic in 2011 at the age of just 17.  Horatio’s Father, David, was a spinal surgeon at Salisbury Hospital and Horatio regularly volunteered at the spinal unit during his school holidays.  Horatio and David came up with the idea for a garden and Horatio drew up a questionnaire to find out what the patients wanted.  After his death there was an outpouring of love, and goodwill and donations flooded in to create the garden - a fitting tribute and legacy to Horatio.

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Horatio’s Garden was designed by Cleve West, winner of the Best in Show at Chelsea in 2011 and 2012. Cleve had experience of the spinal unit because his best friend had been a patient 

there.  Cleve used Horatio’s questionnaire as a starting point for designing the garden; he consulted the staff at the spinal unit and used a wheelchair and a hospital bed to get a patient’s perspective.  Horatio’s Garden was opened in September 2012.

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The Horatio’s Garden Charitable Trust is run by volunteers. The trust raises funds by selling beautifully considered gardening products and gifts through an on site shop. Local artists work with the trust to design and decorate the beautiful giftware items it sells, which helps to give the shop a unique identity. Regular events and activities for the patients take place within the 

garden. The trust hopes to eventually roll out Horatio’s Garden to other spinal units across the UK.

Horatio’s Garden is, quite simply, stunning.  It has a sense of peace and calm and offers a sanctuary for patients and their families.  A stone-wall in the shape of a spine runs across the middle of the garden, which has raised beds with tall scented willowy flowers, create quiet areas and privacy for the patients.  Birdsong throughout the garden lifts the spirit and the view out across the rolling hills calms the soul. I know that if I had had Horatio’s Garden available to me during my stay, it would have been my escape and my sanctuary.

You can find more information on Horatio’s Garden HERE.

Information on Horatio’s Garden giftware shop, for Christmas gift ideas and Christmas cards can be found HERE

 

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Katherine
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