The flagship Highbury Community Garden at Highbury Hospital has been awarded ‘Outstanding’ in the Britain in Bloom ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Awards every year since its creation. Raised beds, trained fruit trees, a wildflower meadow and a sensory garden provide opportunities for service users to participate in horticultural therapy. The garden acts as a green haven for staff, service users and members of the wider community, where they can relax and spend time in green space within the hospital grounds.

Highbury Hospital - before
Highbury Hospital – before. All rights reserved.
Highbury Hospital - after the garden was created
Highbury Hospital – after the garden was created. Photo: Miriam Dobson / Centre for Sustainable Healthcare 2021. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Community partnerships, including with Nature in Mind and the Nottingham Growers’ Network, mean that when people are discharged, they have connections to the wider community and can continue with their gardening hobbies outside of the hospital environment. Every year, the garden is involved with the local community arts festival, working with local artists, for example in the creation of mosaic art on one of the garden’s boundary walls. Bonfire Night events, giant chess, boules and other outdoor games allow a multiplicity of uses of the space.

The project has received community funding from the National Lottery and Aviva and employs a community gardener three mornings a week to ensure the garden keeps running smoothly.

In 2022, the site planted thirty NHS Forest trees. The hospital said, “‘We have a strip of land between us and our neighbours that was just turfed. The kind donation of these trees means we can make it is mini haven for wildlife, almost a wildlife corridor by planting mixed species all the way along it! We’re also planning on it becoming a wildflower area’”

Raised beds and a greenhouse in Highbury Community Garden
Raised beds and a greenhouse in Highbury Community Garden. Photo: Miriam Dobson / Centre for Sustainable Healthcare 2021. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).
Tending to Highbury Community Garden's Herb Circle
Tending to Highbury Community Garden’s Herb Circle. Photo: Miriam Dobson / Centre for Sustainable Healthcare 2021. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).