Herb garden for staff and patient meals planted on hospital roof

Hospital herb garden

A roof garden to grow herbs for use in patient and staff meals has been opened at Southmead Hospital, thanks to funding from Southmead Hospital Charity, Carillion and The Hospital Company.

The roof terrace of the hospital’s Brunel building has been transformed into a culinary, medicinal and therapeutic herb garden planted with over 30 herbs, all of which will be used in meals prepared for Trust staff and patients. 

Staff are also being encouraged to help maintain the garden – a great way to relax which offers enormous health benefits.

As well as providing tasty herbs and a sensory haven for staff, the garden will also be used to help promote recovery among patients, and to promote the hospital’s biodiversity by hosting pollinating plants to encourage bees and other smaller insects to flourish.

The herb garden was originally the brainchild of executive chef, Gary Millard, and has been designed and planted by locally-based and internationally acclaimed herb expert and RHS Ambassador for Horticulture and Health and Wellbeing, Jekka McVicar.

Jekka McVicar said: “I think it’s wonderful that herbs are being used in Southmead’s kitchen for staff and patients.  The garden also gives staff a space to come and sit and enjoy the bees and aromas. 

“It offers an opportunity for a break from the stress of work.  And remember, this is on a roof with no irrigation – not the easiest environment for growing but we’re really pleased with how the herbs are thriving.”

Simon Wood, director of facilities at North Bristol NHS Trust said: “Whether you are interested in healthier, tastier food for our patients and staff, a restful aromatic retreat supporting staff breaks, or sustainable development and providing a place for nature and wildlife, the herb garden has something for all.

“I am grateful for Jekka’s support in developing such a fantastic resource as well as the many individuals, teams and volunteers who have created such a brilliant end result – it’s a great achievement and has created something very special, particularly for a hospital.”

Southmead Hospital Charity’s head of fundraising, Liz Bond: “We’re delighted to support projects like this which are beneficial to both our staff and our patients, and we’re not aware of any other hospital with a herb garden on this scale on the country.

“We often receive donations from people who simply want to make life better for staff, and this is a great example of a project which does just that.”

Share this page: