Madeline Lloyd, Paralegal in the Hugh James Serious Injury team reflects on her time volunteering at Horatio’s Garden in the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre in University Hospital Llandough.
Last month, I enjoyed the privilege of volunteering at Horatio’s Garden Wales. Working within the Serious Injury Department at Hugh James has afforded me so many special and memorable opportunities, and my time spent within these wonderful gardens was certainly no exception.
My day began with a tour from Head Gardener, Owen Griffiths. I was immediately struck by the serenity of the gardens, and the obvious love and care dedicated to creating this space for patients who have sustained life-changing injuries. Prior to volunteering at Horatio’s Garden Wales, I had heard such positive and glowing reviews from my colleagues – I very quickly understood why!
Owen and I enjoyed a cup of tea in the lovely garden pavilion, overlooking the picturesque surrounding countryside. I viewed a photo album depicting the construction of Horatio’s Garden Wales and was amazed by the dramatic ‘before and after’ transformation.
Being very familiar with University Hospital Llandough, I was surprised by how quickly and effortlessly I felt removed from the hospital setting. This gave me a glimpse into the power of the gardens in transporting patients from the Spinal Unit of the hospital, into a bright, blissful, and beautiful landscape.
The rest of my day was spent assisting Owen in the general care and maintenance of the gardens in readiness for an upcoming visit from the garden designer, Sarah Price. Although my gardening skills are undeniably limited, Owen made me feel extremely welcome and useful. Admittedly, he did need to teach me the difference between a spade and a shovel, but once we had addressed the gaps in my knowledge, I was able to get stuck in!
We swept the pathways; removed weeds; tied climbers; and upheld the overall high standard of the flower beds. Owen allowed me complete creative freedom and independence, which enabled me to develop my personal confidence and maximise my gardening experience as a whole. Later in the day, Owen and I were joined by Garden Administrator, Helen Johnson. Helen provided practical support throughout the day, and very generously assisted in taking the photographs included within this blog.
The magic of Horatio’s Garden Wales can be accredited to the splendour of the gardens and the kindness of its staff in equal measure.
Without doubt, the highlight of my day was the time spent meeting and interacting with patients within the Horatio’s Garden setting. The holistic and therapeutic qualities of the gardens were clear to see, as I relaxed and chatted with patients in the glorious sunshine.
We even enjoyed snacking on some delicious home-grown tomatoes from the abundant greenhouse!
To witness smiles and hear laughter within the confinement of a Spinal Unit was a true testament to the sanctuary that is Horatio’s Garden Wales.
I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the Horatio’s Garden experience, and very much look forward to my next visit.
We are very proud of our regional partnership with Horatio’s Garden and to be a part of the charity’s Wales fundraising committee, helping to raise vital funds to keep the garden in bloom.
The Serious Injury Team at Hugh James specialises in supporting clients and their families who have suffered life changing injuries following road traffic collisions and accidents at work.