Posted on Thursday 9 June 2016
Jo Horton and gardener, Tony Danford
A Kennington garden that has helped more than 200 amputees make a speedy recovery is opening its doors to the public during Open Garden Squares Weekend on Sunday 19 June from 2pm - 5pm.
The landscaped garden at the Lambeth Community Care Centre on Monkton Street is home to Guy's and St Thomas' Amputee Rehabilitation Unit and other community health services.
The unit provides intensive therapy and medical and psychological support to people who have had lower or upper limb amputations so they become confident using a prosthetic (artificial) limb or wheelchair.
Jo Horton, 47, a judo teacher and Olympic semi-finalist who lost a leg in a bus accident in February, says: "Every morning I wake up, take a look out at the garden and think how lucky I am to still be here. My background in Judo has helped push me to get better, physically and emotionally.
“All the staff, especially my physiotherapist Joe Thomson, have been great. But the garden is phenomenal and has been a great help. I find it so therapeutic. I do a few circuits around the garden after breakfast, have my lunch out there and a coffee in the evening.”
The half-acre garden was designed in 1985 to provide a beautiful and therapeutic outdoor space for patients at the centre to support the healing process.
Tony Danford, the gardener behind the project, says: “My first job when I left college was to design the layout for this garden. Now 30 years later I’m back enjoying working in the garden, slowly replanting and making it even more beautiful for the patients.”
The garden contains exotic borders, a formal bay tree garden, a Mediterranean bank and a bridge covered in Wisteria.
Jodie Georgiou, clinical lead at the Amputee Rehabilitation Unit, says: “This beautiful garden has become an essential part of the recovery and rehabilitation of our patients. We provide lots of opportunities for patients to make use of the surroundings including a gardening club.
“After the trauma of losing a limb, the garden contributes enormously to the physical and emotional well-being of patients so they can move on to the next phase of their lives.”
For more information about tickets to visit the garden at the Amputee Rehabilitation Unit go to www.opensquares.org.