The Hospice of St Francis is opening up its glorious gardens to green-fingered visitors for the first time.
The Berkhamsted-based hospice gardens have been lovingly nurtured by a team of 35 volunteers, to provide a tranquil ac environment for Hospice patients and families.
On Sunday, September 7, they will be open to the public from 2pm to 5.30pm as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
The gardens include wildflower meadows, orchards and a herb garden filled with chives, rosemary, violets and parsley used by the Hospice kitchen.
In addition, there is a Sensory garden, which is one of the highlights with strong colours, scents and sounds, together with raised flower beds built especially to accommodate wheelchair users.
Behind the Hospice, the Healing Garden has an oriental theme, combining eastern plants and a stunning water feature, designed by Chelsea Flower show Gold Medallist, David Stevens.
During the Open Gardens event, there will also be access to the patients’ gardens, which have beds planted twice a year to give lots of colour and attract insect life.
The Woodland trail will also be open. The trail includes elements of surprise for children, culminating in a visit to the Storytellers’ Chair, hidden in a clearing in the woods.
Generously donated by Robyn West, in memory of her late husband Ian, the Chair is used to share stories by children and adults facing loss as well as visiting school groups.
It was designed by Robyn and created by blacksmith and jeweller Shelley Thomas.
The Hospice will be serving cream teas during the afternoon, with proceeds going to the National Garden Scheme’s charities, of which Help the Hospices is a member and received £400k in 2013.
Hospice director Dr Ros Taylor said: “We receive so many comments from patients, families and visitors about our beautiful gardens and we felt that after eight years of hard graft by our gardening volunteers, we’d love to showcase them to garden lovers from across the region, particularly those who don’t already know about our work.
“It is a privilege to be one of just three hospice gardens open this year by NGS and I’m delighted that Help the Hospices will be one of the beneficiaries of the entrance fees. Our share will help us to secure the £4.7million we need to raise each and every year to provide care for over 1,000 patients and their families across Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
“I hope many people will come and visit us and spend an hour or two in this magical setting and that it will alter people’s opinions about hospices. We are a bright, colourful, happy place and our gardens radiate this warmth and happiness, lifting the spirits of everyone who visits.
“It is often said that the garden is a therapeutic space to heal the anguish that people face during the uncertainty of illness – I’ve seen this in action every day!”
There is parking on site and the Hospice is accessible for wheelchairs. Admission is £4 or free for children. Click here for more details.