Before the sudden and dramatic changing of our lives in late March with the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, a group of Rotarians would meet in the Solardome of the Western Isles Hospital’s Clisham garden every Wednesday morning at 10 am.

They were taking part in the joint Rotary Club of Stornoway/ NHS Western Isles “Our Hospital Garden” project.

For two hours, come rain or shine, they would weed, plant, prune and tidy the memory garden with the purpose of revitalising it into a sustainable and manageable resource for patients, staff, and visitors.

When the lockdown occurred the Wednesday morning meetings stopped, a great shame as the stunning weather of the last four weeks was ideal for gardening. 

As the photographs above show, all was far from lost; daffodils, crocuses and blue bells bloomed; the heather bank flourished, and the alpine rockery came to life.

The catmint and lupins have begun to emerge from hibernation, and the established plants: buddleia, St John’s wort, hydrangea, rhododendrons, crocosmia and potentilla are preparing to show off their charms and welcome people when the lockdown is over.

But this is only part of a much larger project that involves developing a walkway through the woodland area adjacent to the hospital ground boundary with Macaulay Road. 

When finished there will be a path along the woodland walkway, through the Clisham garden to the hospital entrance.  On the way home, if you are not in too much of a hurry, you will be able to sit and experience the natural healing and sensory tranquillity of the garden.

The group says: "We are looking forward to getting back to work on the “Our Hospital Garden” project; then this treasured resource will be available for the community of the Western Isles to enjoy."