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The Orchard Garden

May 2, 2024

Before we became University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity in 2021, Bournemouth Hospital Charity officially opened the Orchard Garden at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in May 2017.

Following two years of fundraising, the Orchard Garden went from a previously unused and unattractive courtyard in between the Hospital’s Jigsaw Building and Pathology Department to a specially designed tranquil area of relaxation and beauty for patients, visitors and our NHS colleagues.

This beautiful garden was funded by generous donations from individuals, community groups and local businesses and has been a much-loved part of our hospital grounds ever since. The garden includes a therapeutic courtyard linked by a sensory walkway to the Hospital Lake, where a wooden deck – designed to be fully accessible – offers an area of peaceful retreat overlooking the water.

However, as you would expect on all hospital sites, there is often development works needed to ensure we are always adapting our services as they evolve and meeting the needs of operational changes. This can however sometimes result in unavoidable circumstances where some areas on the hospital grounds become temporarily closed.

This month, this area where the garden is will be temporarily repurposed whilst building works are undertaken to the old pathology labs to create a new cancer ward. A temporary covered walkway will be installed in this area which unfortunately means several plants and a portion of the pathway will be lost during the time of the works.

Scaffolding will be put up in the garden area to allow new windows to be installed and minimise any disruption or damage to existing plants and the raised flower bed. Other measures to preserve this area include pruning the trees rather than removing them. All the garden furniture currently in the area will be stored safely in the garden by our construction partners, IHP.

During the works, IHP will allow access in controlled conditions to gardeners to allow maintenance of plants. IHP will look at installing a door from the covered walkway into the garden area so that patients can use the garden after building works are finalised.

While this is only a temporary closure, this work is not expected to finish until January 2025.

In the meantime, we would like to reassure our supporters, hospital staff and visitors that this garden will be restored once this work is complete. In fact, once the covered walkway is removed, the garden will be returned to its current layout.

Head of Charity, Debbie Anderson said: “The garden was put in place to help improve the experience of inpatients during their stay in hospital and we will not lose that. A large share of the funds raised for this garden was donated in-memory of former patients and this is very special to us. The Orchard Garden will remain a much-loved part of Bournemouth Hospital site and be fully reinstated after its temporary closure which is necessary as we improve our clinical environment and improve patient care pathways.”