Patients, staff and dignitaries in the new garden at Rutland Memorial Hospital
The garden, which is overlooked by the hospital’s in-patient Rutland ward, was paid for from a charitable bequest by Uppingham resident Ted Toon.
The average time spent on Rutland ward is 21 days and the aim of the garden is to play a crucial role in aiding recovery and making both patients’ and visitors’ time there enjoyable.
Kathleen Tapley, 84, a patient at the hospital, is herself a keen gardener.
She said: “It is a very good job. It is a wonderful place now.”
Maria Ward, a ward manager at the hospital, said: “It is amazing. It is almost like a jewel. Patients have come out and enjoyed the garden, as have their visitors.
“This is a lovely place to come and breathe, and to take some time to reflect.”
Work started on the garden in the autumn. It has been designed by David Penny to appeal to a wide range of senses, and to have something of interest at all times of the year – with different colours, textures and smells.
Along the walls are a series of photos of Rutland landmarks at a height suitable for wheelchair users.
The garden also has a number of seating areas in a mix of shaded and open-air locations, with anti-slip paving so visitors can spend time in it in most weathers.
There is also a plaque paying tribute to Mr Toon, who was a carpenter/joiner and undertaker, who had a keen sense of looking after others.
Before he died, he said: “I’m going to leave my money to those people who supported my business while I was alive.
“I want my money to go back to the community by way of saying thank-you.”
Gerald Badley used to work for the late Mr Toon, and is an executor for his will.
He said: “Ted loved gardens and flowers. He would have thought this was money well spent – it would have got his approval.”
Pat Morley, chairman of the hospital’s League of Friends, said the garden had transformed what had previously been a derelict courtyard.
She said the league had pressed for the area to be used for the benefit of patients, and would continue to help with maintaining it into the future.