Gardening and health have long been recognised as intrinsically and uniquely linked. The first lockdown found us being confined to our homes and suddenly our gardens, balconies, local parks and outdoor spaces became a lifeline we had never fully appreciated or knew how much we needed. Novice gardeners and experts alike found comfort and a new love for nature in all its glory. Gardens and Coronavirus highlights the vital importance of gardens and outdoor spaces now more than ever before.

Alexandra Rose Charity

In 1912, long before the NHS was established, Queen Alexandra founded the Alexandra Rose Charity to support Londoners living in poverty by selling real, paper and silk roses to raise money for hospitals and enable those in poverty to access free healthcare. In 2014 the charity turned its focus to tackling the joint problems of food poverty and unhealthy diets. 

They now have a timely modern mission to continue to support those in need, through the Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg project which gives families on low incomes the spending power to access fruit and veg in their local community through local markets. Our Princess Alexandra of Kent Rose is named after Princess Alexandra who is now President of the Alexandra Rose Charity.

The National Garden Scheme

The National Garden Scheme was established in 1927 when Miss Elsie Wagg, a Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) council member, suggested at a council meeting that the nation’s obsession with gardening could be a way to raise much needed funds for district nurses. Volunteers began opening their gardens for a ‘shilling a head’ to members of the public.

Today the National Garden Scheme is the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK, supporting beneficiaries across a host of nursing and health institutions, with over 3,700 garden owners within the scheme sharing their gardens with visitors. The Generous Gardener English Climbing Rose was named to mark the 75th anniversary of the charity in 2002. In 2021 the NGS celebrated 25 years of support to Marie Curie, Hospice UK and Carers Trust.

The National Garden Scheme’s 2020 report on Gardens and Coronavirus highlights the vital importance of gardens and outdoor spaces now more than ever before:

Read The national Garden scheme report here

NHS Charities Together

There are few people in the world who can be truly credited for improving the lives of so many for generations to come. Aneurin Bevan is one of those people. After World War II he was appointed as the Minister of Health in Clement Attlee’s new Labour government - the youngest member of the cabinet at 47. He led the establishment of the National Health Service to provide medical care to all at point of need, without which, today, we would be in a hugely different place.

It seemed fitting that in 2021 we celebrated both our NHS and the outdoor havens that we have relied so heavily on by naming our rose release for 2021, ‘Nye Bevan’ (Auspital). Named after the founder of the NHS. There are more than 240 NHS charities across the UK and most of them focus on helping our hospitals do more. Collectively these charities give £1 million every day to the NHS so that people can stay well for longer and get better faster.