Rae Wilkinson interviewed about sustainability for new podcast ProGRESS.
Invited as guest for the first episode, Rae talks about her own career path into horticulture and garden design and how she puts sustainability at the core of her approach. She also discusses how sustainability plays a part in her everyday life as well as her career, and how she went from studying art and three-dimensional design to environmental conservation before becoming a horticultural expert and celebrated garden designer.
Rae designs a new staff garden at St Peter's hospital, Chertsey.
Rae and the team at The Outdoor Room transformed the courtyard space into a tranquil garden for staff as part of the Trust's Healing Arts programme, and following on from her work with the Trust to create the Eternal Garden in 2022.
"The intention behind creating this garden was to acknowledge the hard work the staff do at the hospital, the risks they take and the losses suffered," said Rae. "The benefits brought by a moment within a garden, especially during the pandemic period and through difficult times is something of which we are all now becoming more aware. A garden is somewhere we can escape and recover, and also a space where we can reflect and remember, especially to remember those who have so sadly lost their lives while doing their vital work in this hospital during the Covid period."
At the opening event in May, the Duchess of Gloucester attended and unveiled a sculpture named 'Held' which had been created especially for the garden by Harry Gray, who also created the Covid Star Medal which was gifted to Ashford and St Peter's staff in 2022, the design of which features in the garden paving. The Covid Star Medal design has also been inlaid into a memorial bench which commemorates the colleagues that the Trust sadly lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Harry Gray said: "During the Pandemic we could not go into hospitals to hold our very ill loved ones, so as well as providing amazing care the staff gave this extra touch on our behalf. I have created this sculpture as a monument to remember these NHS staff and to celebrate this touch which is the very essence of what it is to be human."
Chief Nurse Andrea Lewis said: "I'd like to extend my thanks to Rae and Harry for creating this meaningful space for colleagues."
Watch a video of the opening below.
Rae Wilkinson is announced winner of Pro Landscaper small project BIG IMPACT awards 2022.
Nine category winners were announced with Rae Wilkinson winning the award for Best Planting Design Under £25,000 for Eternal Garden which she designed for palliative care patients at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals in Chertsey.
Each year, these prestigious awards showcase and celebrate garden designs with modest build and planting budgets. "These projects show a skill and creativity that is often trickier to execute due to budget restrictions, time pressures and rising material costs. In fact, it's often hard to get the 'wow factor' within these restrictions." said Pro Landscaper's Joe Wilkinson. "Judged by some of the landscaping industry's top professionals, and covering all aspects of the sector, from design, construction and hard landscaping to sustainable gardens and planting design, winning this award is a great testament to the success of Rae's Eternal Garden."
Joined by other leading garden designers on a panel chaired by Rachel Bailey, the seminar looked at and discussed the increasingly important consideration of Sustainability in garden design.
Rae has transformed the existing courtyard at the hospital into a calming and private garden which provides a dedicated space for loved ones to spend precious moments with their family or friends whilst receiving end-of-life care at St Peter's Hospital.
The garden comprises a patioed area surrounded by pleached trees, an oak pergola, planted beds, wooden benches and three water bowls to fill the garden with the calming sound of trickling water. Also located in the courtyard is a garden room with bi-folding glass doors to allow the healing power of nature to flow throughout. To enable The Eternal Garden to be used both day and night, all year round, the room has heating installed and lights around the garden's patio area.
Garden designer and TV presenter Arit Anderson, who officially opened The Eternal Garden, said, "We come into the world in a whirl of energy and what happens after that is up to fate, but what we do need is to be nurtured in our most difficult of times. The Eternal Garden will be a wonderful place of sanctuary and healing to patients, family, and staff at St Peter's. Bravo to the team, Rae Wilkinson and The Outdoor Room for creating this special and necessary space."