London @ Royal Hospital Chelsea

 

Raised beds at Gardening Leave Chelsea

Picture 1 of 16

This was the first of our projects to open in England and is situated at the Royal Hospital Chelsea – home to the Chelsea Pensioners. The project has been in operation since October 2010.

This year the garden has been transformed, with ISS Facility Services Landscaping kindly remodelling it with three-foot high raised beds so that veterans, who often have bad backs and knees, don’t have to bend to garden. The raised beds are also beneficial for those receiving mental health medication who then have balance problems, to lean against while they garden. While the veterans are relatively young and tend to be in their mid 30s, they have on average served 11 years in the military.

The paths between the beds are level to make them safer for moving around and increase veterans’ participation in the therapy.  We also have a large meeting shed with twice the space of a normal garden shed, where we can cook veg from the garden with veterans and make garden crafts.

At the far and sunny end of the garden, is a small, raised pond and grassy area for relaxing and taking time to think.

Our ‘normal’ schedule for the garden includes a Monday gardening club for the pensioners from the Royal Hospital. They get to enjoy activities from painting flower pots and bird boxes, to planting miniature gardens and  strawberry gutters!

The Contemplation Garden

All of this is just over the wall from the Contemplation Garden, a space that Gardening Leave veterans look after as a halfway place between the safety and enclosure of our site and the open-plan public places that they often find so worrying. Volunteers and donations allowed Gardening Leave to clear out an area of scrub that was overgrown and very dark and turn it into the light-filled Contemplation Garden for the Pensioners – we handed this over to them in June 2013.

As many veterans who attend Gardening Leave find it difficult to use public transport, we have opened a new outreach site in East Acton.

Contact details

Telephone: 07903 039 106

Email: admin@gardeningleave.org or Contact Us.

Gardening Leave, The Royal Hospital, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4SR

Sessions 

Monday: 10:00–14:00, Chelsea Pensioners Gardening Club

Wednesday: East Acton, CHT Homebase

Tuesday, Thursday: , 10:00–15:00

To see what we get up to at Chelsea, please check out our newsletter which gives you a great insight in to the activities that take place! Chelsea Newsletter

If you would like to attend this project or volunteer, please contact the Garden Staff:

  • Zisky Stovell, Assistant Horticultural Therapist
  • Ed Bowring, Horticultural Therapist
  • Please sign the Honesty Pledge

  • Latest News

    Sunny Spot  RSS Feed

    Twitter

    Our 3-in-1 carrot that we harvested from our @RHChelsea garden last week ow.ly/i/6JByL

    About 7 hours ago

    BBC News - World War One cavalry role marked in War Horse Ride bbc.in/1pyyjgB

    About 7 hours ago

    RT @WhichUK It's September already?! Sheesh. So here are your top #gardening tasks for the month to help keep it in tiptop shape: whi.ch/1Ciu64S

    About 10 hours ago

    RT @GardensIntd Another 14 miles of training yesterday. Should be Ok for justgiving.com/LizWareThamesW… to help @GardenMuseumLDN and @gardening_leave in 2 weeks.

    About 10 hours ago

    RT @GardensIntd Swapping wellies for walking boots to help gardeningleave.org and gardenmuseum.org.uk Thanks for your support justgiving.com/LizWareThamesW…

    About 11 hours ago

    Press Room

    Registered in England: 26 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4AG
    Registered Company number: 06091057
    Charity registered number: 1119786
    Charity registered in Scotland: SC038563
    Board members' access