0 Charity is blooming marvellous, bagging award from Royal Horticultural Society

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disabilty (RHN) won 'Outstanding' in the Royal Horticultural Society's London in Bloom - it's your neighbourhood' category last Thursday at St. Luke's Centre, Islington.

The garden, which is looked after by Huntington's disease (HD) patients, received the award for its community planting activities and care-research which takes place at the site. Geoff Hyde, Judge and Chairman of London in Bloom, said:

"It is an outstanding example of the benefits to a long-stay hospital community of patients, their visitors and staff that a garden of modest size can achieve. The careful and intensive management of the garden makes full use of its potential, for scientific research as well as pleasure."

The HD gardening group provides a constructive outdoor activity and promotes social interaction, highlighting the achievement patients can gain from gardening. The therapeutic benefits of gardening include improved mobility and reduced feelings of isolation and exclusion.

Jose Spring, Research and Development Co-ordinator for the RHN said: "The award gives great recognition and a sense of achievement to our patients who have worked so hard to improve their garden."

Last year the RHN won the 'Thriving' award, a level down from this years 'Outstanding' award. After continued improvement the garden's plants have expanded and the shrubs better managed, opening up the garden. Sophie Dawson of the Royal Horticultural Society said:

"The garden is a wonderful sight: flowerbeds are filled with shrubs; waist height accessible planters overflow with flowers and vegetables and pots are stuffed into every conceivable corner"

The RHN was also recently awarded Gold from the London Garden Society for 'Best Large Hospital Garden'. The London Garden Society judges included the HD Garden in their assessment and met many of the patients who gardened there.

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Contact Kerry Haywood

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