Gardening

5 reasons to have gardens in hospitals. St. Charles Hospital Garden (London)

Some time ago I published in the post Benefits of urban gardens   many of the advantages of cultivating an organic garden in the city. Today we will talk about some of them, focusing on one type of urban gardens: hospital gardens. 

There are many types of urban gardens … but unfortunately,  hospital gardens are perhaps the least popular . In Spain, for example, there are hardly any orchards of this type, although in countries like the United States or the United Kingdom, they are beginning to be seen more and more . In fact, in today’s post, grouped with the other articles on Urban Nature in London , I will tell you what I saw in my visit to a vegetable garden in a London hospital: the St. Charles Health Center Community Courtyard Garden.

Five reasons to install gardens in hospitals

  1. They improve the feeding of the sick.

    Organic food is healthier , so hospital gardens will help improve the health of patients and their speedy recovery.

  2. The environment is protected

    Hospitals prepare food for many people every day, so large quantities of food have to be transported. Growing in the hospital itself will reduce this amount of food to be transported and, therefore, the carbon footprint. In addition, it is known that Organic Agriculture is more sustainable and respectful with the environment than conventional agriculture from which these other foods come.

  3. Expenses are reduced

    The savings are not too great compared to other expenses that the hospital may have, but it all adds up … and what is grown inside will not have to be bought outside , so the expenses will be lower and the hospital more profitable.

  4. The aesthetic aspect of the center is improved

    As you can see in the photo above of the St.Charles hospital in London, a garden-orchard is very pleasant and, aesthetically, improves the appearance of the enclosure. Hospitals are often a bit serious, even sad places, so the presence of a garden will improve their image .

  5. Organic food and agriculture are promoted

    The sick, their families and the hospital staff will be in contact with the garden and with the organic food that is produced in it. They will therefore be  more aware of the quality of these foods, as well as the benefits of urban gardening and community gardens.

Garden in a London hospital: St. Charles Health Center Community Courtyard Garden

The truth is that in all my life in Agrohuerto I have seen few orchards in hospitals or health centers. For this reason, when I realized the existence of a large garden in this hospital in the Kensington neighborhood of London,  it seemed essential to me to pay a visit to tell you how it is and how it works.

According to what I was told, the orchard was inaugurated in May 2013 thanks to the collaboration of several organizations: The Royal Borought of Kensington and Chelsea  (something like the local government of this district of London), Groundwork London   (a non-profit association that disseminates and promotes Urban Nature, sustainability and social initiatives) and  NHS (the National Health Service).

Who is gardening the hospital?

As you can see in the photo, the garden is huge, and it is divided into several sectors. Each sector is maintained and harvested by a «Gardening Group» . The Gardening Groups are groups of urban gardeners who grow and perform activities together and often belong to the same school, NGOs, association or neighborhood group.

At St. Charles Hospital, 15 Gardening Grops   participate , including the Open Age seniors association, The Lloyd Williamson School gardening group  the Equal People Mencap association (dedicated to supporting people with difficulties learning), or the  Baraka Youth Association.

The sick and their families can also participate in the garden and take a walk or enjoy its views, and workshops on planting and painting of pots are held for the children. As you can see, the gardens in hospitals are very useful; not only for the reasons that I have told you before, but also for his  great social work .

What and how is it grown?

The  St. Charles Health Center Community Garden  is an organic garden and, as such, follows principles such as  crop rotation, composting , the presence of aromatics and  flowers in the garden , or crop biodiversity. Many fruits, vegetables and vegetables are grown: tomatoes, onions, chard, leeks, lettuce, garlic, chives, asparagus, strawberries, blackberries … and there is even a lemon tree!

They also fight against pests and diseases in an ecological way through the association of crops, the application of natural preparations or the installation of barriers to avoid pests , such as the meshes that cover the tomato, pea and radish seedlings that you can see in the photo down.

I liked that they had a lot of aromatic plants and other herbs for the kitchen , so I took a «half photo» with the terrace of aromatic herbs hehehe They had thyme, borage, oregano, tansy, mint, thyme and many others.

Well, and so far my view of this orchard. I hope you liked it. As you can see, gardens in hospitals can be a very good alternative to improve these spaces.

If you want more information about the garden or the groups that cultivate in it, you can write to us by leaving a comment.

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