Bowles & Wyer


Written by Rosa Hinton

Although we have often faced challenges when designing and constructing a new landscape, this project has to be one of the quickest we’ve ever had to do. A unique opportunity, a worthy cause and a momentous challenge – this is the fifth in a series of blogs which follows this ambitious landscape project…

It all began with a conversation with the CEO of St George’s Hospital Charity at a hurriedly arranged meeting, which ended with the words: “So we have to agree a design by this time next week, break ground the week after and be all finished three weeks after that. Is that OK for everyone?” It marked the start of the ambitious goal of creating a new landscape for the entrance of St George’s Hospital in London in just a matter of weeks. This worthy cause was made even more special by the fact that the funding came from Sir Captain Tom’s remarkable NHS fundraising earlier this year.

The landscape before works began

Located on a sloping site, the plot was located next to the main entrance and walkway, but was looking worn and was under-used. Our design team quickly created a new Wellbeing Garden, designed to appeal to all the senses and act as a green refuge for both staff and visitors to the hospital. The design has two distinct zones – a formal seating area just outside the entrance with resin-bound gravel paving, surrounded by bright and cheerful planting, as well as more secluded seating nestled amongst naturalistic woodland planting lower down the plot. The planting scheme has been carefully curated to add sound, texture and movement to the areas, as well as complementing the existing planting and increasing biodiversity. The key aim was to bring staff and patients closer to flora and fauna, with layers of textures and foliage through varied planting.

The design for the formal seating area
Secluded seating amongst naturalistic woodland planting

With the design complete, it was then over to our construction teams to transform the space in just a few weeks. It has been an undeniably challenging timeline and works involved landscaping the area, preparing pathways, laying paving and clearing areas ready for planting – all whilst contending with waterlogged terrain and frequent rain deluges. Just last week the final touches were being made – planting out all of the new plants and laying the new turf. As well as undertaking the works, even getting delivery of supplies is a challenge in such a tight time frame and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support and collaboration of our suppliers. A special thank you must go to our suppliers who have also been generous with discounts and donations for the project: Palmstead Nurseries, Torc Pots, Charles Wilson Engineers, InTurf, Deepdale Trees, Bourne Amenity, Soil & Stone, APS Grabs, GravelTech, RoundWood and AHS Ltd.

Construction begins
Landscaping works follow
Before planting last week
And laying the new turf
A view from the resin-bound gravel seating area
Which houses these donated planters from Torc Pots

CEO of Bowles & Wyer, John Wyer comments, “We’re really pleased to have been given the opportunity by St George’s to be involved in this project. Our purpose as a business is to enhance lives and landscapes and this scheme goes to the heart of that. Hospitals are all about improving people’s health and wellbeing and we want to demonstrate the really important role that landscape can play in that. Above all, we want people to feel they are in a garden – to take a deep breath, relax, and to feel some interaction with the natural world. This project wouldn’t have come about without the drive and commitment from the staff at St George’s, from the hospital management and St George’s charity right through to the nurses who helped plant the bulbs. We also couldn’t have done it without the very generous support of many of the suppliers involved.”

So we’re delighted to say that construction is now complete and the garden is getting ready for its big reveal on national TV next week! Look out for us on the Lorraine programme on ITV on Monday 30th November where you’ll be able to see the big build for yourself… more to follow!

A view across the landscape as construction comes to a close
New bedding plants are set to bring colour and cheer
Whilst the resin-bound gravel area provides formal seating just outside the hospital entrance

[Read the first blog here]

[Read the second blog here]

[Read the third blog here]

[Read the fourth blog here]

November 23, 2020