Mandy Macdonald's story

“Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
– Albert Einstein

The garden is an important and central part of St Wilfrid’s Hospice, as saplings planted here have grown into majestic trees and the surrounding soil has been toiled to create a beautiful landscaped garden for every season. 

It is thanks to an amazing team of dedicated green fingered volunteers, working tirelessly through the year, each tending to their dedicated zone of the garden. Volunteers like Mandy McDonald, who is responsible for maintaining the raised beds and gravel garden.   

Using her expertise and passion for gardening, she is proud of the time she has given to create a tranquil place for every member of the Hospice community to watch the world go by.  

“Being close to nature is my natural environment. I grew up in South Africa and from a young age I knew I felt happiest in the garden. You would always find me following the family gardener around.  So it was no surprise that I became a Landscape Gardener!  Later on I enjoyed the role of judging garden exhibition competitions in South Africa and then in London.

It is wonderful that I am able to volunteer at the Hospice, using my skills and passion to help create a beautiful landscape garden. I feel proud my hands have helped to shape the landscape as the needs and demands of the Hospice have changed. I am particularly fond of the sensory garden that was created for the 20th Anniversary of the Hospice, which provides a quiet area of contemplation - particularly for patients.  The Garden of Memories holds messages of loved ones amongst the potted plants and is one of the features that will be moving in its entirety to the new centre. Another key area the visitors particularly enjoy, is the small bedding area laid out like a wheel – the ring and spokes created by a tiny hedgerow, and the space between filled with colourful red and yellow flowers. We change the flowers twice a year so there is always something new in bloom.

Gardens are continuously changing and every season has its own demands, so the role is never dull! I also love the comradery as we gather round for our morning coffee break.

Would you like to join Mandy and our team of volunteer gardeners? Even if you haven’t got experience the Hospice has a range of volunteering position available and will make sure that you find something that suits you. So share your passion, your skills and volunteer for us today. Call the Volunteers Service Team on 01243 755815 or volunteers.office@stwh.co.uk to arrange a drop in.