Creating the John King Brain Tumour Foundation Hospital Garden – The roof garden outside McKissock Ward at Atkinson Morley Wing has been an invaluable space for not only neurosurgical patients, families, and visitors but staff too and became a peaceful haven for the staff during the COVID 19 pandemic where they could escape the intensity of the wards and feel the fresh air.
Over the years we have seen to garden transformed, with the help and support of friends, family, and the generosity of donations.
The roof garden journey began in 2015, when much-loved chef, John King John received the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumour, a condition from which he sadly passed away on 22 November 2016 after an incredibly brave and dignified fight against his illness.
During John’s treatment, John’s family discovered the gardens for neurological patients outside McKissock Ward at Atkinson Morley Wing, part of St. George’s Hospital Trust, Tooting, London. The roof garden is a hidden oasis of green on the second floor of the Atkinson Morley Wing, adjacent to the McKissock Neurosurgery Ward. The gardens were commissioned by the famous brain surgeon, Henry Marsh CBE, to help with patient recovery, however following Henry’s retirement in 2015 the gardens were in serious need of some TLC.
With the agreement of the hospital, John and Laura adopted the garden and with a team of friends started to bring it back to life.
Helping them with the revival of the garden was RHS Gold Medal-winning Garden Designer Tony Woods, and landscape company ‘Garden Club London Ltd’, who later designed the John King Brain Tumour Foundation Garden at Hampton Court Flower Festival in 2020, which was then transported to the hospital for a stylish upgrade.
Everyone was so passionate about improving and developing the roof garden that John and Laura decided to launch a charity to raise funds for ongoing improvements and maintenance of the garden.
The calming environment is designed to aid recovery and provide a safe space for often difficult conversations. The garden demonstrates how the charity is transforming under-used areas of grey concrete rooftops into hidden sanctuaries for people and wildlife to discover and enjoy. a peaceful rooftop oasis for neurosurgical patients and staff to use.
The benefits of the hospital garden have been invaluable, which is why the John King Brain Tumour Foundation continue to upgrade and support the garden for all who use it.
Hospital gardens have a host of benefits including:
Stress reduction: The gardens provide a calming and relaxing environment that can help reduce stress and anxiety levels in patients, visitors, and staff. Spending time in a peaceful and natural setting has been shown to have a positive effect on mental and physical health.
Improved mood and well-being: The gardens provide a respite from the sterile and clinical environment of a hospital. Everyone can enjoy the beauty of nature, which can improve mood and promote a sense of well-being.
Positive distraction: A beautiful space can offer a positive distraction for patients undergoing medical procedures or treatments. The beauty and serenity of the garden can provide a welcome distraction from pain and discomfort.
Physical activity: Gardens can also provide a space for physical activity, such as walking or gardening, which can help promote physical health and recovery.
Therapeutic benefits: For patients undergoing rehabilitation, hospital gardens can provide a therapeutic environment that can aid in the recovery process. Gardening and other horticultural activities can also provide therapeutic benefits for patients with mental health conditions.
Educational opportunities: This is a wonderful space to offer educational opportunities for patients, visitors, and staff. For example, visitors can learn about different plant species and their medicinal properties, while patients can learn about healthy eating and lifestyle choices.
Overall, The McKissock Garden offers a host of benefits that can improve the quality of life for all those who visit it.