Central to our Grow Our Gardens appeal and development of the new hospice gardens is new volunteer and recently retired royal gardener, Graham Stone. Graham served as one of the Queen’s Windsor Castle gardeners for more than 40 years.
Graham recently spoke about his professional life and passion for the environment, and why he is choosing to support our new hospice:
How did your passion for nature and the environment begin?
I was one of those boys that, in any spare moment, would pack a lunch and venture into the great outdoors! It was no surprise to anyone that I ended up studying and working my whole life in horticulture!
What was your role at Windsor Castle?
I started working as a gardener at Windsor Castle in 1979, to tend to the castle gardens and later at Frogmore Cottage, maintaining them, creating some nice features and looking after the aviary. What I loved the most was planting and creating a pleasing site.
Why did you decide to support Thames Hospice?
Hospice care is a cause very close to my heart, having experienced it directly when both my father and stepmother passed away. The hospice was a lovely place to be in, the staff were wonderful and it was a privilege to be able to be with my father at the end of his life.
Why do you think the gardens are so important for patients and families?
When you’re with your loved one in their final moments of life, having access to green space and calmness around you is vital. I also believe it’s important for the well-being of hospice staff and volunteers to work in an environment where they can step outside, take time out and recharge. The hospice gardens are really a pair of lungs, a breathing open space. I am honoured to be supporting Thames Hospice’s fundraising appeal and very excited to be helping to oversee the landscaping project and ongoing maintenance of the hospice gardens.
What are your favourite plants?
I love the Japanese Maple tree because anybody can enjoy them whether they are planted outside or potted indoors. They are so colourful. My favourite flower is the buddleia butterfly bush, the smell of those takes me right back to my childhood! Not to mention they instantly bring masses of butterflies and bees into your garden.
What would be your message to other people thinking about supporting the appeal?
There may be a time when you, a family member or friend will need the care and support of the hospice. I urge the local community to give what they can towards this brilliant gardens appeal.
Help us create stunning new gardens for our patients and their families, donate today by clicking the button below.