As the sun starts shining and the days get longer, the nation is starting to think about their gardens again. One organisation that has had gardens on its mind year-round is the children’s hospice garden charity – Greenfingers. Here Linda Petrons, Director of Fundraising & Communications at Greenfingers, provides an update on those gardens that are currently underway across the country.
The Nook – Norfolk
The new garden at The Nook, part of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, has been several years in the planning and is just part of a hugely ambitious long-term vision for the hospice’s entire landscape. Officially opened by HRH, The Duchess of Cambridge in 2019, The Nook is East Anglia’s Children Hospice’s (EACH) most recently introduced site, and its masterplan garden design has been created by Gold-medal winning designer, and Greenfingers Patron, Anne-Marie Powell.
The Rest & Reflect Garden is the first garden space to be completed at the hospice, with the official groundbreaking taking place just six months ago by the incredible team at Stewart Landscapes. This stunning new garden space has been designed to offer tranquil, sensory spaces, with pockets of quiet, private areas where patients and their families can spend quality time together.
The creation of the Rest & Reflect Garden has been made possible thanks to the incredible generosity of the many Greenfingers Charity’s supporters, including Clarins, the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA), the National Garden Scheme, Evergreen Garden Care, Rose Press Garden, Ann-Marie Powell and many others, who all came together to help bring this garden to life.
The official opening of this special garden will take place in the summer.
Demelza Hospice – Sittingbourne, Kent
25 years ago, Demelza Hospice Care for Children in Sittingbourne, was the site of the first-ever Greenfingers garden. Now, a quarter of a century later, a second garden has been created, using the incredibly skilled designers, Andrew Fisher Tomlin & Dan Bowyer, from the multi-award-winning garden designers, Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer.
Using Andrew and Dan’s vision, it has been the team at Baylis Landscape that have worked hard over the last few months to ensure the garden is accessible for all. As with all Greenfingers gardens, the new garden at Demelza Hospice provides complete accessibility to ensure that all the patients can access and enjoy the space, which features many wildlife-attracting elements, including a fabulous ‘bug hotel’, kindly donated by Tom Massey from the RHS Chelsea garden he designed for the Entomological Society!
We’re also incredibly grateful to the many supporters and volunteers who have donated products or devoted time to the project, including Clarins UK, Taylors Bulbs, Rolawn, Deco-Pak, Evergreen Garden Care, Tom Massey, The Royal Entomological Society - as well as Millbrook Garden Centres and our hardworking Chairman and Trustees, Sue Allen, Tammy Woodhouse, Richard Claxton and his wife Cheryl.
Like The Nook, the official opening date for Demelza’s new garden will be confirmed shortly.
Derian House, Chorley
The Greenfingers garden at Derian House in Chorley, designed by Chris Forshaw, began the transformation in autumn 2022 and now, finally, the official opening is on the horizon.
Once a tired courtyard, the entire space has been transformed and access has been reinvented to ensure the privacy of those that use the bedrooms overlooking the space. Tackling this issue has been the key priority of Chris’ design, where a mixture of interactive zones have been designed to link together via a central covered space. Imaginative and subdued lighting and extra seating, which maintains the privacy for bedrooms overlooking the garden, have also been incorporated into the design.
Acorn Children’s Hospice, Walsall
Currently at the concept design stage, this new garden has seen the team from VaRa Garden Design return to the Greenfingers fold. Having previously created the 60th Greenfingers garden at Rainbow’s Hospice for Children and Young People, the VaRa team is hoping to use this experience to create yet another vital garden space for children and families to enjoy.
Chestnut Tree Hospice, Arundel
The Chestnut Tree Hospice has previously enjoyed a Greenfingers garden, having received a stunning Woodland Walk in 2014. The introduction of a new Kitchen Garden is being funded by a generous private donor.
Currently this new chapter for Chestnut Tree’s outside space is at the design tender stage, with four designers vying to take the design from the page into a living, breathing garden space. Watch this space for more information.
Hope House, Oswestry
Within a new masterplan for the entire hospice site – created by Carolyn Willits of award-winning CW Studios. Greenfingers has committed to designing and building ‘The Gathering Heart’ garden.
This new space will feature a revamped play area and exciting, rich, horticultural elements. We look forward to sharing more details in the months ahead.
Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, Sheffield
Work will begin shortly to refresh the small garden which leads from the hospice’s Primrose Suite - designed to ensure bereaved families have a therapeutic space that best reflects the stories that take place, and too often sadly end, inside the hospice doors.
In addition, the hospice has asked for the help of Greenfingers to create a new garden outside their Forget Me Not Suite.
Linda Petrons said: “There is no question that 2024 is going to be yet another busy year for the Greenfingers Charity. The enormity of what we do and the role our gardens play within these hospices is never lost on us, and we are endlessly grateful to everyone who fundraises, volunteers, provides gifts in kind and promotes the work of the charity. Every single one of you has helped to create these gardens. You have helped to ensure families have a space to enjoy precious moments together or where loved ones and hospice staff can remember those who fought so bravely. You’ve put smiles on the faces of children across the country and have helped to make each day special. Thank you for this, and thank you for your continued support.”
Find out more
To stay up-to-date with all the latest news from the Greenfingers Charity, why not join the conversation on social media - @Greenfingerscharity on Instagram and LinkedIn, @Greenfingerscharity on Facebook and @GreenfingersCha on Twitter.