Trinity Hospice has been opening up its garden as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) for the past 27 years. The most recent occasion, a sunny August weekend, saw 80 people taking advantage of the opportunity to visit the hospice’s beautiful garden. Most of these visitors had not visited or been involved with the hospice in any way before.
I visited Trinity’s garden on Saturday afternoon and was struck by how spacious the garden is and how peaceful it feels, despite being in an urban environment.
The garden is set over almost two acres and contain a wide variety of plants and flowers for visitors to discover – for example, the garden contains over thirty-five types of herbaceous plants and twenty-five varieties of shrub roses.
The garden is also home to eight fruit trees; goldfish and mature koi carp live in the pond; bees make honey in their hives and the bird and hedgehog boxes attract lots of wildlife.
Following the path around the garden you can understand why the hospice is keen to show it off to visitors on open days like this – the garden is absolutely lovely and there is a lot to look at and explore as well as having plenty of space to sit and reflect.
In addition to opening its garden for NGS, Trinity Hospice also organises a range of events, held in the gardens, over the summer months, including an open air cinema on the back lawn.
All year round patients at the hospice are able to enjoy the garden, with the the inpatient rooms designed so that they overlook the garden and have access to it, either via a balcony or a patio area, which really emphasises what an important therapeutic role the garden plays here.
The hospice garden is looked after by head gardener Terry Salter and his team of keen volunteers. During the NGS open day John, one of the volunteers, was at hand to answer any questions visitors had about the garden and its history.
Also on hand was Mark Barling, Trinity Hospice’s facilities manager, who collected the NGS entry fee and served teas and coffees to visitors.
Mark, who has been at the hospice for 13 years, said he would recommend other hospices open up their gardens as part of the NGS, explaining that it is a good way to get people through the door who wouldn’t otherwise know about the hospice – the open days provide an an excellent opportunity to tell new visitors about the work the hospice does.
Throughout the year, the NGS invites visitors to open gardens across England and Wales in exchange for a small donation – most of these gardens are privately owned and open just a few times a year. Money raised through garden openings, like the one at Trinity Hospice, is donated to a small group of health and wellbeing charities, of which Hospice UK is one. At Hospice UK we are proud to have been an NGS beneficiary since 1997 and in this time the NGS have donated over £3 million in support of hospice care.