Pre milford plant

MIlford PreSchool help Lymington Hospital's Grow Wild Apothecary Project

Published on 2016-04-13 by Gill Hickman

Following the blossoming success of Lymington New Forest Hospital’s involvement in the 2015 ‘Grow Wild’ gardening campaign, members of the community and NHS staff came together earlier this week to create an Apothecary and Wildflower meadow on the hospital grounds. The project – Flower Power– started with funding from ‘Grow Wild’ in 2015 but continues today with people’s goodwill and sponsors. The children of Milford Pre-School Plus are currently growing mixed ‘cut and come again’ salad leaves and herbs for ‘The Apothecary’, a quadrangle within the hospital that is open to the sky. The Apothecary lies within the ward that houses recovering stroke patients amongst others and the project aims to provide opportunities for therapeutic gardening for patients and nutritious food for patients, relatives or visitors .The evidence for the effect of gardening on wellbeing is startling. Milford Pre-School is a proud EcoSchools Green Flag holder and the children are excited about extending their community reach to the hospital. We hope the hospital will welcome a couple of tots when they bring them along for planting as it’s a fabulous gesture.

From the planning to the planting, the project was a real community effort with 24 volunteers, nine members of staff and 12 others from Friends of the Earth New Forest, New Forest National Park, Gracewells Sway, Milford Pre-School Plus, and Pennington Action Group all coming together. The wildflower meadow was sponsored by Friends of the Earth New Forest, and Patrick Fairweather of Beaulieu sponsors the apothecary. Decisions on the type of plants included were based on the success of the ‘Grow Wild’ project last year where levels of satisfaction were extraordinarily high.

We wanted to plant poppies which seem particularly uplifting and saw that they looked particularly good when planted with wildflowers such as ammi, cornflower and corn marigold. A second consideration was the length of flowering season. We have added a high percentage of Cosmos because we noticed that this continued flowering right into December.

Hospital Apothecary Group Inside

It is hoped that the variety of flowers will attract wildlife and create a beautiful, uplifting space for patients to view while recovering. Lymington New Forest Hospital is ran by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Peter Hockey, Medical Director, said, “We are very grateful for the hard work Gill and her team have put into the project and we are really looking forward to seeing the flowers bloom for us all to enjoy. The patients last year expressed how this project enhanced their stay with us.”

Lisa Clarke who works at the Hospital has supported the project for two years and said, “It is a great project to be a part of and we were so proud of our work when the flowers came through last year that I was eager to help again this time. The flowers brighten up the hospital not only for the patients, but for the staff too."

It is wonderful that so many in Lymington want to express their gratitude for their community hospital and are prepared to spend time on rotavating, on weed clearance, or nurturing young plants. I would like to offer my thanks to all those people.

For more information, high-resolution photographs, or interviews, please contact Emma Abdulaal from the communications team on 02380 874320 or email

Milford Pre-School Their active Twitter account is @PreMilford