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The Wellbeing Garden at the University Hospital Lewisham (UHL) has been completed.

The original concept for the garden began in 2020 when Maria Leong, an anaesthetist registrar at the hospital, applied to the Healing Gardens Programme, a collaboration between the RHS and the NHS to create green spaces at hospitals around the UK where “staff and patients can reflect and recharge”.

Designed by award-winning landscape designer Adam Frost in consultation with the RHS and UHL community, the first phase of the Wellbeing Garden opened in June 2022, with the remaining elements scheduled to take place later. “The garden makes use of an existing but under-utilised area and is zoned for individuals to sit quietly, spaces for social gatherings and a working garden where people can get involved and grow their gardening skills,” a statement explained.

Blakedown Landscapes, in collaboration with UHL, the RHS and Adam Frost, was part of the project team that delivered the community space, along with volunteers, community groups and NHS staff. Initial works, delivered in 2022, included the demolition of old steps and paving and the cutting back of overgrown shrubs. Hard landscaping works saw the laying of gravel and brick paving paths and the installation of outdoor seating, together with planting and wildflower turf to complete.

The final elements of the project, carried out this year, have seen Blakedown installing community vegetable beds with raised ends and sufficient space on all sides to ensure accessibility and inclusivity for everyone. Seven espalier fruit trees and four heavy standard trees have been planted along with the delivery of auxiliary works including the installation of lighting circuits and bollards.

As part of the original project, the RHS worked with the local community and NHS staff to engage and train more than 200 local volunteers to improve their skills and ensure the garden is well cared for in the future. The Lewisham Healing Garden will provide the blueprint for further gardens built as part of the Healing Gardens programme at hospitals around the UK.

Chris Wellbelove, director at Blakedown Landscapes, said, “Sometimes our projects sit closer to our hearts, and that couldn’t be truer than that of the Wellbeing Garden at the University Hospital Lewisham. We understand how green spaces can impact positively on our mental health and well-being and having a resource such as this community garden will provide staff, visitors and patients with a place to come; to meet friends, garden or just to sit and be mindful. Blakedown is proud and delighted to have been able to collaborate on this project which will add social value to all who use it.”

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