Greener Gloucestershire NHS Garden
Designer: Laura Ashton Phillips, grounds manager and garden designer for the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Sponsor: Gloucestershire Managed Services and Gloucestershire County Council.
Silver Medal Winner
The Gloucestershire Royal Hospital is set to provide a permanent home for Laura Ashton Phillips’ second garden for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
Laura, widely known as The Botanic Blonde, wants Greener Gloucestershire NHS Garden to share the calming health benefits to be gained from being immersed in nature and the effect it has on patient recovery rates and the lowering of cortisol levels on those being treated as well as their families and the staff looking after them.
“I am inspired by the calming effects I experience walking in The Forest of Dean and wanted to bring a little of this into hospital grounds,” explains Laura.
“Birdsong is clinically proven to reduce cortisol levels and fractal patterns calm racing minds, which is why I have included multiple leaf shapes and plant structures.
“This will be a natural, slightly wild garden away from the uniform, clinical environment of a hospital.”
Laura, who received a bronze medal for her debut ‘Longcroft Press’ garden in 2022, will be creating a wild, natural planting scheme that can be relocated to multiple areas of the hospital.
A large verdigris dome hanging from the rear boundary will act as a focal point for her design and the planting will provide year-round interest, with hornbeam, silver birch, acer and climbing hydrangea providing vertical structure and a mix of native and ornamental plants, including Hosta ‘Florence Nightingale’ adding colour and form.
Birch and hazel wood is being used for the fencing and fallen tree trunks will provide a refuge for beetles, while seating will be made from pennant stone from the Forest of Dean. The garden will be suitable for those using mobility aids.
Laura, who is based in Littledean in the Forest of Dean, is the grounds manager and garden designer for the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Friends, family and volunteers will be helping with the build and volunteers from the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital will help with the planting. The garden is sponsored by Gloucestershire Managed Services and Gloucestershire County Council.