4th June 2014

Garden therapy

The lovely gardens and grounds at St Richard’s Hospice offer so much more than just a pleasant view.

Patients in the In-patient Unit, their visitors and patients in Day Hospice as well as staff and volunteers can take time out to reflect, relax, find respite and enjoy the spaces in different ways.

One of our most well-loved features is the Tree of Life garden which is inspired by aspects of ancient garden philosophy. The space with a beautiful silver tree is an area where anyone can find a moment of peace and comfort. Friends and relatives can chose to hang a silver leaf on the tree in memory of a loved one and engrave it with a name and personal message.

In another area lies a thought-provoking sculpture depicting a family group created by the Worcestershire artist Antony Poels.  It’s a wonderful and evocative sculpture which is a great talking point for patients and their families as well as staff and volunteers.

GetImageThere is an area dedicated to young people which our Family Support Team use  for activities such as memory days and group sessions.

We have just started a new Men’s Space group in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK which uses the gardens in a therapeutic way. As Vanessa Gibson, who leads the St Richard’s Community Nursing Team said, “Sometimes in the midst of hospital appointments, health concerns and treatments men may feel they need some time out, some space. This group offers the chance to take some time out in the gardens at St Richard’s to relax, share experiences, talk to a specialist nurse or doctor and, if they wish, use some of our other services. The group can get involved in gardening with guidance on hand, or just take time to talk.”

The gardens and patio areas  are much appreciated by our In-patients. The bedrooms have been designed so that patients can view the gardens and lake from their beds or the beds can be wheeled out onto the private patios, with sun shades available when needed.

The ducks are a big favourite with patients and visitors as they splash about in the pond and dogs can often be seen strolling with their owners whilst visiting patients.

The wonderful planting and maintenance of the gardens is thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers led by Eunice Williams. The team of around ten volunteers each have different zones of the garden to tend, keeping neat and tidy, watered and weeded.


One volunteer recently planted 1,000 snowdrops, the emblem of the hospice, in the gardens. We look forward to seeing them create a wonderful display in the future.