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NHS garden in full bloom at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

23/09/2021

The sun was shining for the RHS Chelsea Flower show press day earlier this week (September 2021).

One garden in particular bloomed particularly brightly, with the 'Finding Our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden' getting plenty of attention.

The garden celebrates the tireless work of NHS staff, as well as commemorating all key worker efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen for the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), the garden came to fruition following conversations between Naomi and Professor John Frater, an Infectious Diseases consultant at the University of Oxford and OUH, following their collaboration on a previous garden in 2018.

You can read more about the concept and design of the garden in our recent news story:

RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden celebrates tireless work of NHS staff

We're also delighted to announce that the garden has been awarded a silver medal in the Sanctuary Gardens category, and you can vote for the garden in the People's Choice category too.

Katy Mimpress, Matron at the Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and Ade Adegboyega, Ward Sister for the John Warin Ward, went along for the day to visit the garden and experience it for themselves.

Katy said: "It was a really wonderful day, and it was fantastic to meet Naomi and talk to her about how this garden came about.  It is a beautiful, tranquil space and it was lovely to have the opportunity to take stock and reflect."

Ade added: "We had a spectacular day - the NHS garden really represents a sanctuary after what we have all been through - not just NHS staff, but all key workers and also everyone who has gone through this pandemic."

Katy and Ade also had a special guest come and say hello - renowned chef Raymond Blanc OBE.

Raymond spent a month at the John Radcliffe Hospital fighting COVID-19 after being admitted in December 2020.  He recently held a party at his restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons for some of the NHS staff to say thank you for the care they gave him.

He said: "It was wonderful to see the garden in bloom. It's a truly beautiful way to say thank you to all the key workers who have worked so incredibly hard throughout this pandemic.

"I for one am incredibly grateful for the NHS, and am so pleased that everyone's hard work is being marked in this way."

John Frater said: "It has been a real privilege to be part of this fantastic project. Talking with visitors to the garden at the show confirms quite how much everyone wants to thank the NHS staff for their tireless work, and also how gardens and spaces for reflection are such a huge part of nurturing people’s well-being as we emerge from this pandemic."

Gilead Sciences were also proud to sponsor the event.

Michael Elliott, Vice President Medical Affairs at Gilead Sciences, said: "Gilead is proud to be sponsoring this NHS Tribute Garden because we want to recognise the incredible efforts of the thousands of people who fought, and who continue to fight, the COVID-19 pandemic on the behalf of everybody in the UK. The garden pays tribute to the tens of thousands of NHS staff who have worked relentlessly to provide care and support for those in need, and also celebrates the universities and research groups who have led the world in the development of treatments and vaccines - showcasing why the UK's unique partnership between hospitals and our universities is so valuable."

For more information, please visit the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website.

Pictured: Katy Mimpress, left, and Ade Adegboyega