A place to enjoy the transience of the seasons and celebrate the life within.
The hospice garden should balance the tradition of the garden as a place of retreat and meditation with its allusions to the transience of life, seasonal cycles, that emphasise the health-giving properties of the natural world with a belief that we are part of nature and are surrendering to the natural world. A sense of solace given to patients.
The site adjoins rural landscapes in the form of arable fields, woodland and lakeside and each edge has been embraced and drawn into the hospice, helping to ‘dissolve’ the sense of boundary, enclosure and territory. Wild-flower meadows have been sown extensively across the site to gently transition into the water’s edge of Bray Lake. An open hedge and woodland edge transitions to existing woodland and residential properties along London Road and the fields opposite.
The deciduous broad-leaf planting to the south is reinforced and extended into the site with scattered groups of new woodland plantings that will enhance its habitat value and create a healthier more complex edge. Swales criss-cross the landscape, with an existing stream directed beneath the building through a water courtyard and into Bray Lake and the Thames beyond. By expressing the water shed in these swales, streams and pools a host of marginal zones are created.
These rich planting palettes , promote nectar rich species and restore native habitats to the lakeside and become more ornamental and floral within the heart of the hospice drawing nature close to the patients, staff and visitors offering an ever changing seasonal landscape.
The sense of peace and liberty offered by this unique wetland landscape is we hope of profound value to patients. Just as important is what it offers to staff, carers, family, and visitors and their needs, helping them to meditate and cope with the day-to-day rigours of a caring environment of bereavement and healing.