A Modern Apothecary

St. John’s Hospice Garden

The St John’s Hospice have asked renowned herb farmer Jekka McVicar to create a unique apothecary garden for the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The 62 gold medal award winning floral-marquee exhibitor, is looking forward to creating her first show garden at RHS Chelsea.

The charity asked Jekka to create a show garden that was soothing and reflective, but also inspiring and challenging. After the show, the garden will be relocated to the St. John’s Hospice to provide a calming, reflective space for St. John’s Hospice patients and their families. Plants and trees have therefore been carefully chosen based on their healing properties, scent, colour and texture. “I hope that the garden can provide the patients of the St. John’s Hospice and their families comfort through sensory stimulation, and above all a place of quiet reflection.” Jekka McVicar

The inspiration for Jekka’s modern apothecary is based on extensive conversations with GP Dr Michael Dixon and Susan Bacon about ways to improving health within the context of gardens and plants. “In Ayurvedic medicine, when one is poorly, doctors often ask patients to sit in the herb garden. The simple act of sitting within a garden, surrounded by plants, has a calming effect and can lift spirits”, explains Jekka.

Jekka has designed a soothing garden, with ‘Wellness’ at its heart, to highlight the vital relationship between medicine and nature. Grown at Jekka’s Herb Farm, the garden will feature research-based plants known to be beneficial to the health and wellbeing of society.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Planting Plan

Planting Plan

Curves and symmetry throughout the garden enhance a sense of calm and peacefulness in the garden. “Circles and curves, which one can follow ease tension and allow one to slowly unwind”, explains Jekka.

Scented plants line the curving paths toward the water feature. The water provides the interactive focal point, sound and movement to the garden. Specially designed oak benches provide a place to sit, to be surrounded by scented plants for tranquil reflection.

New to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the outer part of the garden is given over to a herb ley, packed with native herbs and grasses. Enclosing the garden, espalier apple trees, columns of yew and hawthorns provide safe seclusion for quiet reflection.

The whole garden is overseen by a sculpture of Asclepius’s staff, designed by Susan Bacon, which is the symbol of healing.

St. John’s Hospice

St John's Hospice LogoSt John’s Hospice, an independent charity located within the Hospital of St John’s and St Elizabeth in St John’s Wood, provides specialised palliative care to more than 3,000 terminally-ill patients and their families every year.

For the last 30 years, we have been providing high quality hospice care, free of charge, to those living in and around Central and North West London. Our services are underpinned by a respect for human dignity and care for the physical, psychosocial, spiritual and emotional needs of the total person, whatever their age, life-style, culture and spiritual belief. Our patients face a range of conditions, including cancer, respiratory disease, heart failure and HIV.

The Hospice provides numerous services to our patients including the Inpatient Unit, which is a 19 bed ward where our team of qualified medical personnel provide 24 hour dedicated care to patients during their final days. This highly personal, holistic approach to care takes time, skill and experience from a multi-professional team. We care for people in the hospice and in their homes. We also provide training, advice and support to other health professionals.

We critically rely on voluntary donations, grants and legacies to continue with our care and this is only made possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters and volunteers. We are partly funded by the NHS and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth and rely almost entirely on the support of local people, companies and trusts to raise over £1 million in voluntary income each year. It costs more than £5 million to run the Hospice each year.