To celebrate the opening of Teapot Trust’s Elsewhere Garden, designed by the award-winning garden design studio Semple Begg, a celebratory event was held (Thursday 20 June) for young patients and their families. 

The garden, which won a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Garden Show in 2023, is a place of calm inspiration for young patients and their families at the hospital which is a national centre of excellence. The garden will also be a home for outdoor art therapy provided by Teapot Trust.

David

David, aged 11, opened the garden and was delighted to feature in the news coverage on STV (Thursday 20 June) with his Mum, Anna. David’s medical condition was diagnosed pre-birth and he had multiple surgeries and hospital stays over the last 11 years. 

Anna explains, “Every Friday, David goes to meet Holly and the Teapot Trust team. It is the highlight of his week. He gets the opportunity to spend time with kids who have had similar experiences to him. He doesn’t feel different to the other kids, and he can relax and be creative. His most recent projects have been creating wonderful board games with characters that each have different abilities and superpowers. We were excited to see the new garden and looking forward to meeting Holly for an outdoor art therapy session in the near future.”

Award winning garden

Designed to be an imagining of a child’s mind set free from the burden of chronic illness, the garden mirrors the freedom and escape that art therapy gifts young patients. Plant choices were inspired by children's books and films – Wonka, Oz and Wonderland – where colour is vivid and shape and form are exaggerated, creating a fantasy theme.

Nicola Semple from Semple Begg said, “To bring the garden back to Glasgow is something we are immensely proud of. It’s a huge privilege for us as designers to lead a public project that is going to have a long-lasting impact and a powerful legacy.”  Susan Begg continued, “Following focus groups with children and families, patient groups and medical staff, the garden was redesigned for a larger plot at the hospital. It includes year-round colour, wide wheelchair-friendly pathways, and peaceful seating offering respite from the clinical environment.”

Retaining the spirit of the original garden, Snorky and Grizzly – two trees with an unusual form that make them look like friendly monsters – stand as the guardians to this inclusive space.

As a next stage development, a weather-proof art studio will be added to the garden as a permanent home for art therapy.

Art Therapy

Teapot Trust Art Therapist Dr Patricia Watts, who supports children in the hospital, said, “The Elsewhere Garden is a tranquil and relaxing space where families can have some quiet time together after the hustle and bustle of hospital appointments. It is lovely to see the children exploring the garden, noticing the colours and finding out the story behind the garden.  It is lovely to include the garden as part of the introduction to art therapy and to show children and families this is a space they can use. This can put them at ease, particularly as hospital visits can be stressful for some children and families. It also provides a lovely reflective space for staff too!"

Consultant Peadiatric Rheumatologist Dr Jo Walsh, whose young patients benefit from art therapy, explains the impact the garden is already having. “The Elsewhere Garden is a tranquil haven close to the ever-busy Children’s Hospital. The space invites children, young people, parents and staff to explore the vibrant colours, contrasting shapes, movement and scent of the planting layers. It is a really special place; thanks to Teapot Trust and Project Giving Back the Elsewhere Garden will benefit so many. I watched children racing round the paths and looking up at the Pine trees, two staff were having a quiet break and a mum to be sitting in the shade by the astrantia. I always glance out of the window from the stairs to see if anything new has grown. The Elsewhere Garden is a place for all.”

VR and Soundscapes

To help create an immersive experience, visitors will be able to hear soundscapes of the garden (what’s happening in the tree canopies and the soil) by scanning a QR code on their phones.

Inpatients unable to leave their beds, and outpatients who spend long period in clinics, will have access to a Virtual Reality version of the garden in which they can enjoy remotely. Alan Grant of Edify said, “We are delighted to support Teapot Trust and the vital work they do by using the power of VR to ensure that the 'Elsewhere Garden' can be experienced by children and young people. Our team has created a virtual experience which means the garden's magic will be accessible far beyond its physical home in Glasgow.”

Funding partner

Hattie Ghaui, CEO of Project Giving Back, the grant-making charity that funded the Teapot Trust Elsewhere Garden and partly funded its relocation to Glasgow, said, “We know the Teapot Trust Elsewhere Garden at the Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow will provide a colourful and joyful space for children, their families and the incredible staff who care for them, to enjoy for many years to come. This garden is a brilliant example and will no doubt offer children much needed respite, as well as Teapot Trust outdoor art therapy, while undergoing their treatment and recovery. Huge credit must go to the Teapot Trust team, the garden designers, collaborators and additional supporters for making this relocation what it is today and will be long into the future.

 

STV news coverage of the Elsewhere Garden can also be found here