Hospice opens gardens to public for afternoon

Healing garden at The Hospice of St Francis

Healing garden at The Hospice of St Francis

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The glorious gardens at The Hospice of St Francis will be opening to the public on Sunday, September 4 from 2-5pm.

Visitors will be able to wander freely around the gardens, which have views over to the National Trust Ashridge Estate, and open as part of the NGS Open Gardens Scheme from 2pm until 5pm.

Created on a brownfield site nine years ago, the seven-acre gardens have been transformed by a dedicated team of over 30 volunteer gardeners and now provide a tranquil and therapeutic environment for hospice patients, their families, friends, visitors and staff.

The gardens are divided into themed areas around the concept of a traditional farmhouse with outbuildings, and include a perennial wild flower meadow, lawns, a rose garden, ponds and pergolas as well as a new vegetable garden, tended by patients and carers and used by the hospice kitchen.

One of the highlights is a peaceful, oriental healing garden with strong colours, scents and sounds and a stunning water feature, designed by Chelsea Flower show gold medallist, David Stevens.

Visitors will also be able to visit the sensory garden with its raised flower beds built especially to accommodate wheelchair access, as well as the inpatients’ gardens, which every bedroom opens onto and which have beds planted twice a year to give lots of colour and attract insect life.

Children can enjoy the woodland trail, which includes elements of surprise, such as a giant animal-themed oak table set amongst tall mosaic columns, and culminates with a visit to the Storytellers’ Chair, hidden in a clearing in the woods and used to share stories by children and adults facing loss, as well as visiting school groups.

The hospice will be serving refreshments throughout the afternoon, with proceeds going to the National Garden Scheme’s charities. There is parking on site and nearby and the hospice is accessible for wheelchairs, although some areas of the woodland trail are unable to be accessed by wheelchair. Admission is £4 with children admitted free.

The Hospice of St Francis Garden, is in Spring Garden Lane, Berkhamsted. HP4 3GW. Visit the NGS website at http://ow.ly/hr9z301tyzd