Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Hatchmill Nursing Home Garden, Farnham, Surrey, UK

In The Beginning
(photo: Graham Bowyer)


A new garden is born at Hatchmill Nursing Home in Surrey,. That magical process of creation has run its first full cycle and so form reveals itself in light. Over a period of three weekends a group of volunteers from the Japanese Garden Society, as well as several others, came and contributed their labour, love and enthusiasm.

(photo: Graham Bowyer)
The central garden courtyard is at the hub of Hatchmill, windows from all sides of the building look out into the space from the ground floor and first floor rooms. The space is used by residents to sit out, the paths are wide to accommodate wheelchair use, as well as allowing social functions. The central courtyard is also an important space as it allows an access to the garden and nature to both residents and staff.



The original concept allowed for a small pond in the central area, with the existing borders retained in shape and position, but the planting was to be radically re-thought and presented. After discussion with the board of Trustees it was decided to proceed with the garden but to take the option of creating a ‘pond’ area in the karesansui style, as a ‘’dry pond’. The overall treatment of the garden spaces was to be given a Japanese-style approach, but drawing on a wider palette of planting then would be usually used in Japan. Herbaceous planting was to be incorporated to provide seasonal splashes of colour.


The only alteration to the paved areas was to remove a small number and cut some paving slabs on the diagonal. This was intended to subtly break up the straight lines created by the existing paving, and generate more of a asymmetric feel to the space.

Running through portions of the site were to be sections of pebbles laid on edge as a ‘running stream’, this was to create a design motif that could be recreated in different places with the idea of providing visual continuity from one side of the site to another. The garden was to be composed of a series of areas of interest, so that walking or moving about the site the eye would rest on a rich variety of forms, textures, and experiences. The design concept takes on,, among others, such principles of composition such as asymmetry, triangular relationships, emptiness, proportional relationships, layered views; all of which are part of the Japanese garden making tradition.

A brief tale: as the finishing touches were being put to the garden a resident in a wheelchair came out to take the air and the scene and parked herself in the middle of a main access path. 

"Am I in the way?' she asked frequently, as people hurried about pushing wheelbarrows, fetching and carrying various tools and materials, sweeping up, and being busy in all the ways there can be. "Oh no, you are fine there, not in the way at all."It was not true of course, she was 'in the way', we all had to weave around her and the wheelchair.

I came to learn that she was a part of the garden that was coming to fruition, however temporarily. In her silence, her stillness, her watching-ness, she became a part of the garden as every other. I could see something of her spirit winding its way out into the garden like faint wisps of smoke or incense, imbuing the whole with the very qualities she held within. Just as we all manoeuvred carefully around the rocks and the plants, so we manoeuvred around her too. It was a very beautiful moment which caught the essence and energy of the garden perfectly.

Plant List:

Buxus sempervirens                  Polystichum polyblepharum
Leucothe 'Scarletta'                  Dryopteris erythrosora
Leucothe 'Royal Ruby'               Nandina domestica
Juniperus 'Pfitz Compacta'        Agapanthus 'Snow Pixie'
Juniper 'Ice Blue'                     Pacysandra terminalis
Picea pungens glauca               Tracheospermum jasminoides
Potentilla 'Abbotswood'            Tulbaghia violacea variegata
Viburnum davidii                     Camellia ‘Narumi Gata’
Miscanthus 'Silberspinne'          Enkiankthus campanulatus
Miscanthus 'Morning Light'        Camellia 'Spring Festival'
Azalea japonica                       Libertia 'Goldfinger'
Azalea ‘Knaphill Hybrid’          Carex 'Everest'
Choisya ‘White Dazzler’






Design and Concept: Robert Ketchell
Project Coordination: Graham Bowyer






Special thanks to:

The Board of Trustees at Hatchmill
Mike Maher and the management team at Hatchmill Nursing Home
Andrew Kauffman - Corporate Development Manager,
Quadron Services Limited
Members of the Japanese Garden Society & all the volunteers who gave of their time, effort well being and love and attention.

A complete list of all those who contributed to the project:
                                     
JGS and Family & Friends     
Robert Ketchell
Graham Bowyer
Pauline Bowyer
Matthew Bowyer
Thomas Bowyer
Emilia Blackwood
Duncan Bowyer
Lisa Bowyer
Jo Naiman
Ann Dobson
Ian Dobson
Ian Chrystie
Sylvia Chrystie
Martyn Chrystie
Terry Bates
Keith Baker
Mark Hannay
Patricia Bassett
Dennis Everatt
Ed Brown
Miles Leigh
Andy Brady

Hatch Mill Staff and Family & Friends
Chris Tibbot
Michael Maher
Shirley Maher
Tracey Pollard
Kieran Pollard
Nigel Pollard
Elaine Osborne
Richard Marles
Judy Marles

Quadron Services and Friends
Andrew Kauffman
Daniel Mondaye
Dave Brandon
Lisa Collins
Rob Carver

The Japanese Garden Society links:

Website - http://www.jgs.org.uk/
FaceBook -  https://www.facebook.com/JapaneseGardenSociety?ref=stream


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