"Nurturing with Nature:" a re-landscaping for Maggie’s Cheltenham II
Having operated for the past eight years, the center needed to expand to accommodate a growing number of visitors. The extension is sited on the existing courtyard garden necessitating a re-landscaping of the site.
Gardens are integral to the Maggie’s Centres, acting as thresholds or transition spaces that lead people away from the hospital into a different, sheltered realm. The gardens are also seen in a therapeutic context , enabling patients and visitors to connect with nature and the seasons, undoubtedly beneficial for both mind and spirit. “People project their grief and suffering onto nature”, says Charles Jencks. “Nature reflects the seasons, it is life and death, and that’s why gardens are so important to us”.
Thus connectedness with nature is an elemental need which we all depend on. Such is the philosophy behind the landscapes and gardens of Maggie’s Centres and included in the new design at Maggie’s Cheltenham. Here the aim has been to create a space for calm relaxation and distraction away from the difficulty that is illness.
Among our most loved and culturally important habitats is a wild flower meadow, a small scale of which is included in the design. Abuzz with insects, the flowers burst into life in late spring and illuminate the summer and autumn days.
Tall evergreen yew hedging and pleached flowering trees screen a small area of the garden adjacent to the centre, so blocking the view and noise from the road. This is an outdoor meeting ‘room’ for visitors with a curved raised bed planted with colourful and scented perennials and incorporating contemporary wooden seating.
Blossom and wild flowers, chosen to bloom from early spring through to late autumn , bring joy and restfulness to visitors and have the additional benefit of providing bees, and a wide range of insects, with both pollen and nectar. A refuge for all.