Richard Hughes, Grounds and Gardens Manager at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford writes:
The Broomfield Hospital Covid-19 Memorial Garden is being developed during the autumn and winter of 2020. Sadly, many caring and courageous NHS staff lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. At a time when the nation was asked to “stay safe” at home, NHS colleagues left their homes and stepped up to the challenge. This garden was commissioned as a tribute to all the NHS fallen heroes past and present, and as a thank you to all our clinical and non-clinical NHS colleagues for the incredible work they do. It will be an area to remember these colleagues and to feel extremely proud of the work they did during the Covid-19 pandemic, and continue to do every day in supporting hospital care in their local communities.
The garden is being built behind the original Edwardian house, flanked by the sunken garden on one side and an expansive lawn containing mature trees on the other. It is a triangular plot with good access from all directions. The design is based on a series of circular forms that help to make the garden feel bigger than it really is. The circular form was chosen because of it symbolic meaning; it represents wholeness, eternity, life without beginning or end, perfection and enlightenment. The colour theme for the garden is for all-year round white flowers with green or silver/grey foliage. The symbolic meaning for white is purity, completeness, comfort, hope and protection. It will also have all year round scent. Once the hedges have grown, the space will have a sense of seclusion, privacy and enclosure, making it a garden for contemplation.
The main entrance will have a metal arch with the words “Our Heroes 2020”. Two sculptures have been specially commissioned by the Serbian sculptor, Bojan Krstić, representing people hugging one another. It will also have white curved seating and a metal hexagonal gazebo. There will be two life-sized metal silhouettes, one of a doctor and the other of a nurse, to remind us of the bravery and selflessness of our colleagues. You can watch a virtual walk through of the garden here.