Margaret’s Garden opens at RVH

MAIN Margaret's Garden opens at RVH
Margaret Mitchell and Liz Will (front) with staff from ward 8 and Margaret’s relatives

Patients, staff and visitors to Royal Victoria Hospital will now be able to enjoy a newly created garden at the hospital.

Over the past few years, the garden area had become a bit overgrown and housed an abandoned greenhouse, and was not a place where patients or staff would go and spend time.

Patient Margaret Mitchell, with the support of her family and staff at ward 8, took a keen interest in the greenhouse and garden and, with everyone’s input, slowly the garden was brought back to life.

Margaret’s Garden, as it was officially named, was opened earlier this month and with all this lovely sunshine has proved an instant hit with patients, staff and visitors.
The idea of using the greenhouse began to really take root with Margaret and when she was re-admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital and following some work being carried out, the greenhouse became a useable space. Margaret, along with other patients, helped plant flower beds and take cuttings of established plants so that more plants can be grown in the future.

Having the opportunity to share her vast gardening knowledge with other patients and staff has brought pleasure to Margaret who explained, “I mentioned to my occupational therapist that I would love to be able to get my hands on the greenhouse, you know give it a good clean and get things growing again.

“I can definitely say that being involved in the garden has lifted my spirits and makes me feel more positive. It has been both amazing and emotional; to get outside and get my hands dirty again, now it is a beautiful space which can be enjoyed.”

Margaret’s family recycled beach finds and crafted a beautiful mosaic sign saying ‘Margaret’s Garden’ which is displayed at the entrance to the garden. Margaret has donated a specially-created mosaic robin and this will also be placed in the garden for all to enjoy.

Staff and patients at Strathmartine Hospital generously donated benches for the garden which were built in the workshops at the Craigmill Skill Centre.  They also donated wood to build planters, and compost and a variety of plants to be used to brighten up the garden.

Occupational therapy team lead Liz Will said, “The improvements to the garden at Royal Victoria Hospital have really made such a difference and they provide a welcome spot away from the wards.

“Staff from the occupational therapy team bring patients out to the garden and, when appropriate, incorporate regular gardening activities into their therapy. Normal gardening maintenance such as light watering and weeding, planting seeds and dead heading flowers help with balance and coordinating skills.

“The improvements to the garden have benefited everyone here at RVH and especially Margaret herself and it has been really rewarding to see that something as simple as gardening makes such a difference.

“We are very grateful to everyone at the Craigmill Skill Centre as without their fantastic support our garden would not look the way it does today.”

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