Landscape architect Patrick Collins is designing a show garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show to celebrate the work of the neonatal unit at St George’s Hospital in South London
Patrick, from Raynes Park, whose daughter Isabel was cared for at the Tooting-based hospital from when she was born until the age of three months, is donating his time and design talents to support the neonatal charity, First Touch, as a way to thank staff.
Local company Landscape Associates are volunteering their expertise and manpower to build the garden, which is called A Garden for First Touch at St George’s. Director Richard Curle said: ‘As a new dad I am fully behind this wonderful project and feel privileged to support sick and poorly babies at St George’s neonatal unit.’
A Garden for First Touch at St George’s is inspired by the strength and determination shown by premature babies and their families on their journeys, which can be long and difficult.
The main feature of the garden is a water course that flows through a stylised valley, representing the path that premature babies and their families follow. It has a turbulent source but becomes gentler further downstream as the journey progresses. On either side of the water, sculptural terraces representing contours in the landscape are planted with a variety of alpines and herbaceous perennials.
Patrick has taken the inspiration for the garden from his childhood home in Cornwall, and the garden of Isabel’s grandmother.
Sarah Collins, Charity Director of First Touch, said, ‘We are thrilled to have so many fantastic people volunteering their time and services. Without their support this amazing project couldn’t go ahead. It is a real tribute to the work of the staff at St George’s neonatal unit that we have the involvement of so many organisations.’
Miles Scott, CEO of St George’s, said ‘First Touch is an incredible charity. Their support to the neonatal unit is deeply appreciated and we are delighted that Patrick is using his talents and time to celebrate the work of our staff and First Touch in such a special way.’