In 2004, a new two million pound extension was built onto the grade-two listed building at Ashgate Hospice. Chris Parsons started work on designing the six-acre grounds in late 2006. The design wraps around the modern semi-circular day-centre extension, turning a previously precipitous drop into a new raised terrace, with a 3m retaining wall hidden by a new native woodland and three acre wildflower meadow. There is a shady secluded pergola walkway and a rear courtyard garden. Bright flowers frame the main entrance and buzz with insects all summer.
The brief included: the importance of nature to the mainly elderly patients, the importance of disabled access and appeal to all the senses. It is clear that the garden has made a massive difference to everyone who uses it, but most of all to patients at a vitally important stage of their lives. It has been a privilege to work with such dedicated and cheerful people in such an uplifting place. It is a humbling experience to hear patients in wheelchairs, accompanied by loved ones, enjoying looking at the plants, remembering gardens past and lives lived.
AWARDS: Award for Landscape Design Excellence, BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) National Landscape Awards 2009. Shortlisted, Building Better Healthcare Awards, 2010