North Bristol NHS Trust opens a herb garden on the roof of Southmead Hospital

Friday, 21 July 2017

We held an opening event today (July, 21) for a roof garden to grow herbs for use in patient and staff meals at Southmead Hospital.

Herb garden on the roof terrace

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 our staff and patients. 

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. The garden was funded by Southmead Hospital Charity, Carillion Services Ltd and The Hospital Company.

Staff are 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.

Our director of facilities, Simon Wood 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.”

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.”