Garden gifted to hospital as NHS thankyou

A scented garden that was destined for the 2020 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, has been donated by the AMAFFI Perfume House to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as a lasting thank you to NHS staff for their heroic work during the pandemic.

The reimagined scented oasis, by award-winning plantsman and RHS Ambassador Jamie Butterworth, has been built in just three days during what was to have been the RHS Chelsea Flower Show week.

The 250sq.m garden was opened on 22nd May 2020 to staff and patients with the plants and flowers completely transforming the Hospital’s run-down outdoor space. Bright and cheerful, beautifully scented and offering a sanctuary to lift the spirits of patients and staff alike, the garden has seen the inner courtyard completely transformed with dramatic topiary domes and pyramids and several multi-stem trees including Cornus, Medlars and Virburnum.

AMAFFI made the decision to gift the garden to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as a token of their gratitude for the selfless work during the pandemic, enlisting the expertise of Jamie Butterworth, (pictured left) who runs Butterworth Horticulture. Jamie and his small team who are based in London, worked around the clock to transform the large outdoor space into the luxurious and restorative garden.

The Founder and President of AMAFFI Perfume House, M. Amaffi commented that many Londoners suffered the consequences of the debilitating pandemic: “We are hugely grateful to doctors, nurses and key workers who each day heroically put themselves at risk to save lives,” he said. “AMAFFI Perfume House sincerely hopes this garden, as a magical present, gives joy and positive thinking and the flowers will inspire with their beauty.”

Rob Hodgkiss, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, offered a huge thank you to AMAFFI for donating the garden which will be truly appreciated: “While not on show at the 2020 Chelsea Flower Show, I’m sure if it was, it would have won a gold medal,” he said. “This will be admired and enjoyed by our patients, families, staff and local communities during these incredibly unusual times and beyond. We have been humbled by the generosity of local business and the public throughout this pandemic, and although we’ve all experienced incredibly challenging times, a garden space to admire and connect with nature is a great lift for us all,” he added.

For Jamie, who would have designed the garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it has been an absolute pleasure to be part of the project and to be able to repurpose the plants and shrubs that were being grown for the AMAFFI show garden, to transform the space into a colourful, scented oasis as somewhere beautiful to rest and escape: ‘The combination of perennial shrubs and flowers ensures that the Hospital staff can take time out and enjoy the most glorious fragrances and colours all year round,” said Jamie.

Generous support for the repurposing has been given by London Stone and Torc Pots. The Hospital employs over 6,000 staff who care for nearly one million people.

It’s a good news story to know that the plants and trees grown for the Chelsea garden has been used in this way to benefit our NHS and patients.

Photo credits: Lynn Keddie