Auchincruive Newsletter
  • Picture of the Week

    Horticultural Therapist Zisky with veteran Peter Hughes at our East Acton outreach project.
  • 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


    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
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    • Sunny Spot 24
      Tips on how to prepare your garden for an open day….


    RT @ISSUKComms MT @ISSLandscaping: 900+ signed @gardening_leave HonestyPledge tackling stigma around veterans' mental health issues ow.ly/zJLta

    About 2 hours ago

    Our @RHChelsea project harvests veg & herbs for the hospital kitchens & for veterans' lunches. Our latest news... ow.ly/zHeIY

    About 3 hours ago

    Watering our garden at Ayr & this bergamot flower caught the light - a real wow! ow.ly/i/6mwn7


    Through the early morning mist at our Ayr hort.therapy garden we spotted this v.special Vic Cross poppy this morning! ow.ly/i/6nGfb

    About 2 days ago

    RT @Malvernmeet I recently 'planted' 3 metal bullrushes in the garden. This dragonfly 's been sitting on the tallest one for ages pic.twitter.com/UBLGTRud4g

    About 2 days ago

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