Adam Frost Wellbeing garden for Colchester Hospital

A garden to function as a welcoming, restful space, providing access to nature for hospital patients, their families and staff.

Wellbeing garden design by Adam Frost for Colchester Hospital

The RHS and NHS are collaborating to develop wellbeing spaces for staff, patients and the local community. The project was inspired by Dr. Maria Leong, an anaesthetist registrar at University Hospital Lewisham (UHL) who sought support from the RHS during the pandemic to develop a garden for NHS staff to take a break from their intense workloads, and to provide a space to breathe, reflect and remember colleagues lost to Covid-19.

The ultimate vision for the project is to create a UK-wide network of Community Wellbeing Gardens across the country, providing a green web of welcoming, safe, neutral, accessible and inclusive spaces.

The first wellbeing garden, created in 2022 was designed by the BBC Gardeners’ World presenter and award-winning garden designer, Adam Frost. Passionate about the NHS, Frost jumped at the chance to be involved in the project in gratitude for the support provided for his family. “In all honesty, without the NHS my family would be in a bit of a pickle. On a personal level this is me saying thank you to everybody who works so hard within the NHS”, explained the designer. “A place like this, just makes the day a little better”.

Following the success of the project’s pilot UHL garden, Frost has designed the next garden for the project, – this time for the Colchester Hospital to create a much needed wellbeing space for its staff, patients and their families. The RHS is working with the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) Wellbeing Team to create the garden, which is partly funded by donations from supporters and donors.

Garden Design

The Colchester Hospital Wellbeing garden is situated at the front of the building in the approach to the main hospital. Frost designed the garden to include long curvaceous paths, wildflower areas and seating, along with a ‘dry’ garden featuring boulders and rocks. His overall vision for the space was to change people’s experience from the outset of their arrival in the (dominating) car park, slow the garden journey down to “give people space to use”, make that journey more interesting and provide secluded spaces that “feel more comfortable”. Frost has created a video, explaining his ideas and the final design for the new garden.

Mandy Jordan, associated director of charities and voluntary services, said: “We are thrilled that Adam has given up his time to develop this design for our new garden and think his ideas will make a real difference to everyone using Colchester Hospital. We look forward to watching the relaxing new space take shape over the coming months.”

The plans for the Colchester Wellbeing garden are currently going though planning after which works can start.