Yesterday the Harefield Healing Garden was officially opened with an event to mark eight years of fundraising, planning, designing and planting. Hospital staff, patients and supporters came together to enjoy the beauty of the new garden as well as some drinks and nibbles on a warm September evening.

The Harefield Healing Garden offers patients, their families and the hospital’s staff an accessible quiet, calm space, filled with beautiful plants and trees to rest and recuperate in. The garden looked especially beautiful yesterday with the flowers in late summer bloom.

A celebrity visitor

TV presenter Gabby Logan attended the event and spoke about how moving it was that space had been created for patients and their families to have a quiet moment when they needed it. 

Gabby Logan said: "To have something like this garden, for families who may be going through those difficult moments, whether it is the patient themselves, the families who are coming in regularly visiting and the all important staff. I just think it's a beautiful and very spiritual and quite emotional place. I think the people here who have got a connection will carry on making this a beautiful place for people to visit for years to come."

Gabby also unveiled an information board about the garden.

The story of the garden

The garden was created by Rosie Pope and Catherine Perry. Rosie was inspired to create the garden after her son, Will, received a new heart at Harefield Hospital in 2013 when he was 20. At that time, there was no accessible outdoor space, other than the car parks. When Rosie did finally manage to get Will outside, his recovery went from strength to strength. That’s when the idea of a Healing Garden began.

Rosie Pope said: “It’s great Harefield staff and patients are now able to enjoy the garden. This has been a labour of love for so many people and it’s wonderful to see the garden open, with staff and patients and their families enjoying the calm and peace it offers.”

Rosie was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list for “services for charity fundraising”. Over the last few years, she has worked tirelessly to raise funds to improve the stay of patients at the hospital.

Catherine came on board to the project after spending a roller coaster 12 days at Harefield in June 2017, when her dad was airlifted there following a sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest. She wanted to give something back to the hospital and staff who looked after him, so she contacted Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity and was introduced to Rosie. Catherine said:

We wanted to provide a garden which would be accessible to all; a sanctuary for patients, a place for visitors, including young children to spend time with their loved ones, and for staff to take a well needed break.We know what a difference having this garden would have made to us and those affected when our loved ones were at Harefield, and it’s great to see the garden now being used as we had hoped it would.

The garden will have lots of positive benefits for staff and patients. As well as giving them somewhere to take a break, surrounded by nature, during a busy shift or on a difficult day, it will add more natural spaces to the land around the hospital and provide activities to help patients get out and about, such as the Gardening Club.

Tim van Someren, who had a lung transplant at Harefield Hospital, said: “To have a place to come for a break to breathe, a bite to eat or to chat to a friend really mean something. You can come and put your brave face back on before you go back inside. For patients it’s a sanctuary. Whether it's for air and sun or rain and noise or just something that isn't your hospital room it's a reminder of reality and normality.”

The garden’s design

The garden was designed by award-winning local garden designers and landscape architects Bowles & Wyer and with input from patients, their relatives, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other hospital staff.

Bowles & Wyer said: “The healing garden occupies an important location within the hospital grounds and has potential to breathe new life and vigour into this part of the site. We have designed the new communal garden with a free-flowing organic design, with long sweeping footpaths meandering through generous beds of planting and bulbs in long grass.”

Get involved

The garden needs help from patients, visitors and staff to keep it beautiful for all who will use it. Harefield Hospital runs a Gardening Club that needs volunteers. By joining up you will get fresh air and meet fellow patients, whilst helping to maintain the beautiful green spaces around Harefield Hospital. Sign up for the Gardening Club on the Harefield Healing Garden’s website

Sign up for the gardening club

The event was also a launch for the garden’s Big Bulb appeal. Rosie and Catherine are raising funds to purchase Tulips, Alliums, Crocuses, Camassia and Daffodils to be planted this autumn that will bloom in spring next year and for a potting shed. Donations can be made online at the link below.

Donate to the Big Bulb Appeal

The Harefield Healing Garden has been a passion project for Rosie and Catherine. It was made possible by donations from patients and their families supported by Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, grants, and support from local businesses. We want to say a big thank you to everyone whose support has made the Harefield Healing Garden possible.