The RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s award-winning Florence Nightingale Garden has been transformed at St Thomas’ Hospital to celebrate International Nurses’ Day.
Opened on 202nd For Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the garden will offer patients and staff a place of rest and relaxation. The theme of the garden is ‘Care by Nature’ and reflects the life and character of Florence and some of her ideas about the importance of green space, light and air in hospital environments.
The garden was designed by Robert Myers and sponsored by the Burdett Trust for Nursing to celebrate Florence’s bicentenary and celebrate the importance of the nursing profession in the 21st century. It was awarded a silver medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in September 2021.
Florence was considered a pioneer of modern nursing and founded the world’s first professional nursing school in 1860 at St. Thomas’ Hospital – the Nightingale School of Nursing.
She was influential in the design of the new St Thomas’ Hospital, which opened in 1872 with its innovative “pavilion style” of seven large separate buildings connected by walkways, including courtyards.
With support from Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, the Florence Nightingale Garden was moved in front of St Thomas’ Hospital to the upper terrace of the Albert Embankment, with views across the Thames to Westminster.
While nearly all of the Chelsea Garden’s key features are retained, including the signature 60-foot pergola, several design details have been reconfigured to ensure the new layout is appropriate for the hospital campus. The garden was recreated by landscaping contractors Bowles & Wyer, one of RHS Chelsea’s most experienced landscaping contractors and specialists in the construction of restorative gardens for hospitals.
Avey Bhatia, Head Nurse for Guy’s and St Thomas’ said:
“The new garden is a fitting tribute to Florence Nightingale who did so much to raise the profile of nursing as a profession. We are incredibly proud of our connection to Florence and look forward to this beautiful garden having a permanent home with us and providing a haven of tranquility for our patients, staff and visitors. We are very grateful to Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity and the Burdett Trust for Nursing for making this possible.”
Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity said:
“We are proud to be working with the Burdett Trust for Nursing to bring this wonderful space to St Thomas’ Hospital. It offers staff, patients and families a quiet place to relax, reflect and recharge. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are able to help improve the communities around Trust sites – by creating quiet, peaceful spaces that benefit the health and well-being of patients and the dedicated staff who care for them. “
Shirley Baines, Managing Director of the Burdett Trust for Nursing said:
“We are delighted that this beautiful Chelsea Flower Show garden at St Thomas’ Hospital can find new life. We hope it will be a quiet, healing place for all visitors.”
Robert Myers said:
“I can think of no better use of our gardening skills than in healthcare, knowing that gardens and green spaces have a proven, positive impact on physical and mental well-being. We designed the Chelsea Show Garden as a restful space that honors the principles of Florence Nightingale; We have always hoped that it would be recreated in the ‘real world’ and I am delighted that the garden will now be permanently available for the people who really matter: nurses and patients at St. Thomas.”