Hospice Memory Garden – Design and Preparation

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Plews Garden Landscaping is honoured to be a part of creating a new Hospice Memory Garden for St Christopher’s Hospice.

 

St Christopher’s Hospice offers care and support for the residents of the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. They have a site in both Orpington and Sydenham.

 

Marie, garden designer at our sibling company Plews Garden Design, was asked by them to design and create a Hospice Memory Garden in the grounds of the Sydenham hospice.

An area of old shrubs borders and lawn next to the garden pavilion was agreed on as being a good space. This Memory Garden would have the names of loved ones buried along with the newly planted flowers and shrubs. The date Plews was given for a deadline was that the garden should be ready for an ‘official opening’ at the St Christopher’s Mad Hatters Fair on June 25th

garden pavilion outside seating area, st christophers hospice, hospice memory garden, plews garden landscaping, plews garden design

Right from the first meeting, Marie had quite naturally offered Plews Garden Landscaping as being willing to help with the memory garden project. We were more than happy to be included and to take an active role.

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The site survey of the proposed area for the new hospice memory garden was carried out by both Marie and Nathan, from Plews Garden Landscaping. Initial thoughts and ideas were bounced around from Marie to Nathan following the site survey.

We knew the whole border would need to be cleared of the old, tired shrubs. The soil, although fairly neutral was very poor nutritionally, so would need to be dug over and improved to give the new plants the best start.

It was decided that the existing shrub border should be extended with a new curving shape that looped in front of the garden pavilion. Marie has written the Plews Garden Design, more detailed version of this hospice memory garden preparation which you can read here.

Marie spent quite a bit of time finding extra funding and donations, and we’d like to add our thanks to:-

Marie also made sure to ask a friend who is not as able to dig to make cakes for us to eat at the clearance – and then scoffed most of them herself aided by the other two women (typical!)

extending border, hospice memory garden, plews garden landscaping, plews garden design, st christophers hospice

So, we gathered together on a Sunday those of the Plews Garden Landscaping and Plews Garden Design teams who were available, plus a couple of willing and able volunteers to clear all the old shrubs and plants from the existing border and lawn.

Double digging brought to light the biggest problem of the day – type 1 was found about six inches down over nearly half of the area of original flower and shrub border. Type 1 is the mix of stones that is put down as a hard landscaping surface under patios, for example.

Nathan breaking up clods of clay, hospice memory garden, plews garden landscaping, plews garden design, st christophers hospice

Ideally we would have brought in a breaker to get rid of all the type 1 and replace with new top soil. Time and money constraints led us to decide to use Nathan and a mattock instead. (All the strongman stuff comes in useful on site!)

soil improver added, hospice memory garden, plews garden landscaping, plews garden design, st christophers hospice

Marie decided that re-designing the new border planting was possible, so we would be able to resolve the problem at minimum cost to the charity.

Next stage is the collecting up of plants from various places and setting them out according to the amended planting design. For that story, you’ll need to tune in another time…

new curving border, hospice memory garden, plews garden landscaping, plews garden design, st christophers hospice

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