An award-winning garden inspired by children's classics including Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland has been recreated for young patients at a Glasgow hospital.

The Teapot Trust’s Elsewhere Garden was designed by Scottish landscape artists Semple Begg and won Gold at last year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

As was always the plan the interactive garden has been relocated, enlarged and adapted  to deliver a tranquil haven for patients, families and staff at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Plant choices were inspired by children's books and films where colour is vivid and shape and form are exaggerated, creating a magical fantasy theme.

Gene Wilder in the original Willy Wonka movie Gene Wilder in the original Willy Wonka movie (Image: publicity shot)

Two anthropomorphic tree monsters named Snorky and Grizzly loom over the other plants in scenes reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz movie starring Judy Garland.

The garden was designed after focus groups were held with children, families and medical staff at the Glasgow hospital.

The Elsewhere Garden is inspired by children's classic books and filmsThe Elsewhere Garden is inspired by children's classic books and films (Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

Plants that offered year-round colour were chosen with wide wheelchair-friendly pathways and the peaceful seating offering respite from the clinical environment.“ "

"To bring the garden back to Glasgow is something we are immensely proud of," said Nicola Semple.

"The garden was very much inspired by children's imaginations and workshops we had done with the kids.

A more compact version of the garden took gold at the Chelsea Flower ShowA more compact version of the garden took gold at the Chelsea Flower Show (Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

"The place that art therapy takes them too, a magical place where they can explore some of their darker thoughts.

"There are two, slightly creepy but anthropomorphic trees and they represent forms that could be interpreted as being slightly scary but through their art therapy they learn to live with these thoughts - we all have to live with scary thoughts."

"In the Wizard of Oz there is a scene where the plants are really large and loom over the children and we wanted to recreate that.

"The trees are actually the same species as Christmas trees so we tried to represent both the magical and the scary.

"It's a very bright garden," added Susan Semple.

"In the original Chelsea garden we had a stream lined by Candelabra Primula, which we called the dolly mixture stream.

The Elsewhere Garden aims to be a therapeutic space for children at the Royal Hospital for ChildrenThe Elsewhere Garden aims to be a therapeutic space for children at the Royal Hospital for Children (Image: NHSGGC)

"We couldn't have a stream in the hospital garden but we've managed to retain the stream with the very bright Candelabra."

Young cardiac patient David Wilson, 11, from Ayrshire was among the first to step inside the garden at its official opening on Thursday.

He was diagnosed with a heart defect while still in his mother's womb and had his first surgery when he was 11 days old.

David Wilson as a baby during treatment for his heart defectDavid Wilson as a baby during treatment for his heart defect (Image: NHS GGC)

He had his sixth surgery just before his fifth birthday and all was going well for two years when, in 2019, he had a brain haemorrhage and required neurological and several weeks of inpatient treatment for endocarditis.

David will continue to require surgery as his heart grows and is set for another operation in the future.

He attends art therapy sessions arranged by the Teapot Trust and there are plans to build a weather-proof studio in the garden for this purpose.

His mother Anna Wilson said: “Every Friday, David goes to meet Holly and the Teapot Trust team. It is the highlight of his week.

(Image: Gordon Terris/Newsquest)

"He gets the opportunity to spend time with kids who have had similar experiences to him.

"We are excited to see the new garden and looking forward to meeting Holly for an outdoor art therapy session in the near future."


Consultant Rheumatologist Dr Jo Walsh said: "Elsewhere Garden is a tranquil haven close to the ever-busy children’s hospital.

"The space invites children, young people, parents, and staff to explore the vibrant colours, contrasting shapes, movement, and scent of the planting layers. It is a special place.

"I watched children racing round the paths and look up at the Pine trees, two staff having a quiet break and a mum to be sitting in the shade by the Astrantia."

A weather-proof art studio will be added to the garden as a permanent home for art therapy.

Teapot Trust Art Therapist Dr Patricia Watts, who supports children in the hospital, said: “The Elsewhere Garden is a tranquil and relaxing space where families can have some quiet time together after the hustle and bustle of hospital appointments.

"It is lovely to see the children exploring the garden, noticing the colours, and finding out the story behind the garden. 

"It is lovely to include the garden as part of the introduction to art therapy and to show children and families this is a space they can use.

"This can put them at ease, particularly as hospital visits can be stressful for some children and families. It also provides a lovely reflective space for staff too."