A team of volunteer gardeners are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their project to transform the front entrance of the Royal Free Hospital with a series of gardens. 

The group founded by Dr Charlotte Gascoigne, Linda and Malcolm Grove and is funded by the Royal Free Charity.

Five years on, the team of volunteers are still maintaining and expanding the garden for the benefit of everyone at the hospital. Their hard work to transform these outside spaces has been greatly appreciated by staff, patients and their loved ones.

Charlotte remembers the initial work involved to prepare the ground for planting and shares one of the group’s more memorable finds: “We found a buried section of a First World War gravestone – for Alfred, killed in action in March 1916 – which we have preserved in the garden, although we are still baffled as to how it got there."

Now run by Charlotte, with long-term volunteers Emma Hill, Patricia Langley and Debra Craighead, the team plan to build on their success and extend the planting at the top and bottom of Pond Street. They will link in the new landscaping around the Pears building using a few signature plants to create unity across the whole site.

Gardening is a great way to keep active, and gardening as a group has additional social benefits. The group meets on Saturday mornings and experienced gardeners are always welcome. If you’re interested, please contact Sharon.howarth1@nhs.net.