New garden at Royal Hospital for Children offering sanctuary for young patients

A new garden has opened at the Royal Hospital for Children where young patients can enjoy art therapy outdoors.

A garden has officially opened at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow as part of a new outdoor art therapy programme.

The Teapot Trust’s Elsewhere Garden, designed by the award-winning garden design studio Semple Begg, won Gold at the RHS Chelsea Garden Show in 2023.

It has been relocated and adapted by Semple Begg for the hospital as a sanctuary for young patients and their families.

The garden was officially opened by David Wilson, a patient at the hospital since birth due to his congenital heart defect (CHD).

David, 11, has needed intensive medical care since he was born.

New garden unveiled at Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow

David has been attending art therapy classes every Friday as part of a pilot for child cardiac patients over the last few months.

“I like doing it because it’s a break from all the work and stress of school. And it’s just very relaxing.

“It’s very good. Very… planty!”

David was diagnosed with a CHD when he was in the womb.

He had surgery to inset an artificial valve when he was ten days old, followed by another surgery at five weeks old.

Surgery number three took place when he was approaching the age of two and, frighteningly David required another two unexpected surgeries during the same hospital stay.

David was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in the womb

He celebrated his second birthday in the RHC Paediatric Intensive Care Unt (PICU) with five major heart surgeries under his belt.

He had his sixth surgery just before his fifth birthday and all was going well for two years when, in 2019, he had a brain haemorrhage and required neurological and heart surgery.

This was combined with an eight week stay at the hospital.

David will continue to require surgery as his heart grows and is set for another operation soon.

David’s mum, Anna Wilson, said: “Every Friday, David goes to meet Holly and the Teapot Trust team. It is the highlight of his week. He gets the opportunity to spend time with kids who have had similar experiences to him.

David, who is a long-term patient, opened the garden at its official ceremony

“He doesn’t feel different to the other kids, and he can relax and be creative. His most recent projects have been creating wonderful board games with characters that each have different abilities and superpowers.

“We are excited to see now what the art therapy will be like as it extends into the outdoors of the wonderful garden. This will add a new element to the therapy and the nature will bring a new environment outside of hospital walls.”

Following focus groups with children and families, patient groups and medical staff, the garden was redesigned for a larger plot at the hospital.

Plant choices were inspired by children’s books and films – Wonka, Oz and Wonderland – where colour is vivid and shape and form are exaggerated, creating a fantasy theme.

It includes year-round colour, wide wheelchair-friendly pathways, and peaceful seating offering respite from the clinical environment.

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