St Christopher’s Hospice Memory Garden

This St Christopher’s Hospice Memory Garden is a large border on a sloping site, situated next to a sunny seating area with tables.

The original area was overgrown with unpruned shrubs, weeds and various herbaceous perennials. However, the site itself had potential to be a year round garden, enjoyed by the residents, staff and carers. As a Memory Garden project, the names of loved ones were included in the planting holes along with the flowers and shrubs.

The term a hospice memory garden may cover a number of types of gardens and borders. Flowers, shrubs, trees are placed so that the bereaved can come and remember their loved ones.

A lot of preparation of the site was required: clearance, enlarging the border, improving the soil. During this work we hit a problem that required a substantial re-design of the planting scheme.

Scent and a changing outlook over the year were important design elements. The planting design includes evergreens of different foliage colours; scented flowers and aromatic foliage. Once established, the plants needed to be easy maintenance and require watering only during prolonged dry periods.

Roses are always a favourite flowering shrub in these situations. The rose is consistently one of Britain’s favourite flowers in public polls. In this memory garden, the roses have been chosen for their repeat flowering or rosehip bearing qualities; their colour, scent. As it is a hospice memory garden, where possible, the cultivar name of the rose was also a deciding factor. So we planted Rosa ‘Loving Memory’, Rosa ‘Dearest’ and Rosa ‘Nostalgia’.

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.

For the Plews Garden Design story of St Christopher’s Hospice Memory Garden in more detail, read the Plews Potting Shed blogs –

Hospice Memory Garden – Design and Preparation

and

Hospice Memory Garden – Planting the Design