Award-winning landscape company take on the ambitious challenge of designing and constructing a new landscape for St George’s Hospital in just a matter of weeks.
Although Bowles & Wyer are well versed in challenging landscapes, this must be their quickest landscape project yet.
Just three weeks ago, the St George’s Hospital Charity contacted the firm regarding the renovation of the sloping landscape located in front of their main hospital entrance. Next week, construction begins after a whirlwind project brief, design and sign-off process. The project has come about thanks to new funding received from the Sir Captain Tom NHS fundraising earlier this year.
Whilst the hospital enjoys a large green area in front of the entrance, the space is under-used and worn. Located next to the main walkway and entrance, the designers at Bowles & Wyer envision a space with a variety of seating areas for hospital visitors, as well as inviting pathways and a new planting scheme to improve the aesthetic and biodiversity of the space.
It’s long been proven that green spaces can have a positive effect on healing, and Bowles & Wyer have already seen the results from their NHS 70 Garden at Addenbrooke’s Hospital where the tranquil and restorative space acts as a welcome retreat for hospital staff and visitors.
However, this exciting development at St George’s Hospital has a very short timeline. Following their initial meeting, the design team at Bowles & Wyer had just two weeks and a tight budget to create a new scheme for this public wellbeing garden.
The new design will transform the higher part of the landscape nearest to the hospital entrance into a formal seating area, surrounded by bright and cheerful planting. The borders are designed to complement the existing planting, whilst increasing biodiversity. They include a combination of soft grasses to add texture and movement such as Calamagrostis x acutiflora and Nasella tenuissima, structural evergreens such as Pinus mugo, and perennials in hues of orange and yellow such as Achillea ‘Walther Funke’ and Rudbekia fulgida. The new space will provide a welcome and cheering refuge just outside the hospital doors.
Lower down the landscape, there will be more secluded seating areas nestled amongst naturalistic woodland planting. An informal path will lead through a woodland area with lush green planting and a more muted colour scheme, helping to instigate a feeling of calm as visitors move through the space. The area will be planted with low grasses and multi-stem Acer griseum trees. The scheme also includes plants such as Liriope muscari, Astrantia major, Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ and Matteuccia struthiopteris.
With the design now complete, construction begins next week. Around three weeks later, the build must be finished – ready to be shown on national television.
CEO at Bowles & Wyer, John Wyer comments, “This has been a fantastic project for us. Working closely with the St George’s Charity, we took an early decision to carry out all the design and planning work on a pro-bono basis and the works themselves at a below-commercial margin.
“The client could not have been more helpful. Suppliers have been very supportive in achieving that too – Inturf for example are providing a substantial amount of turf at a discount. We intend to involve quite a few of our design and admin staff in the planting towards the end of the project – it should be great fun and a good team experience!”
Bowles & Wyer are charting their progress with the ambitious project in a blog on their website.