Great Ormond Street Hospital's new garden to be displayed at Chelsea Flower Show

Chris Beardshaw's design will face the show's bustling crowds before it settles down for a quiet life in its permanent home

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Award-winning landscape designer Chris Beardshaw describes his new Morgan Stanley Garden at Great Ormond Street Hospital as “a refuge, a space to retreat into, and a place for clinicians and families to reflect.”

Maybe so, but before settling down for a quiet life in its permanent home, the garden faces bustling crowds and critical scrutiny at the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. 

“It is extremely rare that a garden is designed for a site, and then taken to Chelsea and then taken back to its parent location,” said Mr Beardshaw, who spent time with GOSH staff and patients to get a sense of the kind of garden the hospital needed. 

“The thing that struck me about the hospital was the intensity of activity within the confines of the architecture, and the complete lack of external space to step  out into.”

Mr Beardshaw imagined a place of quiet solitude, where staff and families could sit and collect their thoughts. “I wanted to create a sense of isolation or of removal, so that you can contemplate unhindered by others and create a palate or a tapestry that allows the mind to be consumed by the garden. It’s a very verdant, very opulent space where the textures, shades and tones of green really come into play.”

As the garden is to be situated in the heart of the hospital, surrounded by buildings of up to 10 storeys, Mr Beardshaw had to factor near-constant shade into his design: “The beauty, form and texture of the garden really starts to resonate in subdued light.”

Another central component is a watercourse running the length of the garden, reflecting the trees and the sky over-head. This, and everything else on display at Chelsea, will be painstakingly dismantled come the end of the show, and craned on to the roof  at GOSH. A gold medal this year would mean 11 RHS Gold Medals for Mr Beardshaw, who last year won top prize for another Morgan Stanley-sponsored commission. 

Chris Beardshaw designed the Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital

The bank also has had a lengthy relationship with GOSH, pledging in 2007 to raise £10m for the hospital over three years, eventually raising over £11m. The money helped fund the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building, a key part of the hospital’s ambitious redevelopment plans,  replacing cramped, outdated rooms with modern facilities for families.

Last year, employees of the bank voted for GOSH Children’s Charity to be their new charity partner, with the aim of raising £1.5m for Morgan Stanley House, an updated accommodation block for parents of patients, which includes those who are in intensive care.

Give to GOSH campaign

“We have seen first-hand how our partnership is making a real difference to the families from across the UK who come to the hospital each and every day,” said Clare Woodman, Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Stanley International. “To know our support is helping to build new accommodation so that parents or carers can be close to their child when they need them the most is very important to us.”

The firm was also the first corporate backer in The Independent’s on-going Give to GOSH campaign, donating £150,000 in December.

President of Morgan Stanley, Colm Kelleher, said: “At Morgan Stanley we are very proud of what our long-standing partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity has achieved since we began working together in 2007.  Giving back is a core value for us, and our employees have shown huge commitment to the hospital, going above and beyond to fundraise and also to volunteer their time.”

If you Give to GOSH, your donation will be matched by the Government, doubling its amount. To donate go to: