LETTER: Garden care

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Having recently read Sir Roy Strong's article ("Diana didn't want a garden", 28 July), I wonder if a memorial to the Princess of Wales could take the form of a hospital for children, with gardens designed as an essential part of every ward. As holistic treatments become more accepted, the idea of healing gardens is at last being recognised as a very real part of recovery from illness or as a way of easing the waiting for terminal patients and their families.

It is extraordinary that orthodox medical practice has not understood the part that can be played by plants, scents, water, colour and the quiet delight of watching insects hovering amongst flowers, or birds singing. The utter relief of having access to a garden to get away from the sanitised stress, smells, noise and activity of a hospital ward is something which can enable a healing process to begin.

Each garden could reflect the needs of specific patients, some with plenty of space for wheelchairs, some with room to push beds into, others with sandpits and pools, fountains, scented plants and plants good to touch, different surfaces to walk on, lots of colour.

If there must be a garden by which to remember someone who we are told was not interested in gardens, then let it enhance and bring joy to a project which we are told was of real interest to her and which would help children with real needs.


Hexham, Northumberland