Recently our Hospital Director, Jane Abbott, featured in Benenden Parish Magazine talking about our on-site sensory garden.
At Benenden Hospital we’re proud of our sensory garden, Edna’s Retreat. It was named in honour of Edna Winter who gave a generous donation to the hospital in order to create the garden. Edna was a great supporter of the hospital and its work, she was a steadfast member of the Rising Mercury Society and was also on the Committee of Management from 1975 to 1996. She sadly died in 2011.
Edna’s Retreat is a sheltered spot backed by mature trees and a beech hedge. It overlooks the rolling landscape, dotted with grazing sheep and Wealden farmhouses that we’re blessed with, and feels a relaxing, remote location, yet it is a stone’s throw from the hospital.
A successful sensory garden must be carefully considered in terms of layout, as well as the actual plants chosen. Often sensory gardens are compact, so care should be taken to allow space for wheelchairs and to ensure seating is arranged so that the person in a wheelchair can sit alongside their able-bodied friends.
Edna’s Retreat has brick pathways with a series of raised flower beds and generous seating areas that lead through an archway of lilac and white wisteria to further seating.
Our gardener’s meticulous attention to planting ensures it bursts with scents, sounds, textures and colours throughout the seasons. There are viburnums and rhododendrons in spring, heady lavenders, tobacco plants, roses and herbs in summer, buddleias and Elaeagnus 'Limelight' in autumn and Sarcococca (Christmas box) and Lonicera 'Fragrantisima' (winter honeysuckle) in the winter.
Next time you’re visiting the hospital, I encourage you to take a trip to Edna’s Retreat. You may even see our Garland rose, created for the hospital in 2007 to celebrate our centenary.
Published on 25 June 2021