It is a truth universally acknowledged, as Jane Austen so neatly wrote, that gardeners are the most lovely people. Much given to nurturing, gardeners as a rule are folk who love to swap seeds, dispense cuttings and generously share their experience and advice.
But the caring spirit goes further, and the gardening community consistently rallies round the numerous charities which use gardening to improve lives. Greenfingers, which creates gardens in children’s hospices, Perennial, which supports horticuturalists through hard times, and Thrive, which uses gardening to bring positive change to disadvantaged or vulnerable people, are just a few of the many fantastic organisations which work hard and achieve wonderful things.
At Burgon & Ball we try to do what we can to help out, so when Horatio’s Garden got in touch with us, we wanted to hear more.
Horatio's Garden - building beautiful gardens
If you’re not familiar with Horatio’s Garden, it’s a relatively young charity, formed in 2011. It was inspired by Horatio Chapple, a young volunteer in the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury. He came up with an idea to create a garden for patients and their families, an area of temporary respite from the serious medical issues which can feel so overwhelming.
Tragically, Horatio’s young life was cut short that year on an expedition to Svalbard, when his camp was attacked by a polar bear. The subsequent outpouring of goodwill raised £20,000 in just two weeks, eventually reaching a final total of £350,000 - and the fledgling charity was on its way.
There are now four gardens at spinal centres around the UK, in Salisbury, Glasgow, Stoke Mandeville and Oswestry. Two more are currently in development, in London and Cardiff and you can support the fundraising on these links. With HRH Princess Eugenie this year announced as the charity’s Royal Patron, and gardens created by top garden designers including Cleve West, James Alexander-Sinclair, Joe Swift and Bunny Guinness, Horatio’s Garden is going from strength to strength, creating much-cherished places for the patients, families and staff who spend time at these leading-edge medical facilities.
A helping hand
Like many gardens open to the public, the spaces created by the charity depend to a great extent on the time and energy of their volunteers, who make such a contribution to maintaining and developing the gardens. When Horatio’s Garden got in touch with us, it was with an enquiry concerning whether we could possibly spare some gardening tools for volunteers to use in the gardens around the country. Well, of course we were happy to help out.
We thought our RHS-endorsed FloraBrite range might prove useful, as we find they’re quite popular with community organisations which rely on volunteer gardeners. The tools are our regular RHS-endorsed hand tools, but with bright fluorescent shades and reflective touches, they’re easy to find if they’re accidentally left behind in a border. They even glow under torchlight! We also sent some other gardening goodies, including some Japanese Razor Hoes, which are useful in all kinds of gardens – not just for the allotment.
We were pleased to be able to help out, and even more delighted when the lovely people at Horatio’s Garden sent us some pictures of our tools in use in the gardens, which you can see here.
The charity creates very special places to give a few precious moments of peace and escape to spinal patients and their families at the most difficult of times. Please do take a moment to visit the Horatio’s Garden website find out more about the phenomenal things that the organisation achieves – and to remember Horatio Chapple, the outstanding young man who inspired it all.