THE postponement of the country's leading gardening event has meant a flower power tribute to the NHS will be presented to Oxfordshire's hospice patients instead.

An NHS tribute garden called 'Finding Our Way' was due to be displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, sponsored by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford.

But now the flower festival has been postponed until September for the first time in its history, £2,000-worth of roses due to appear in the garden are going spare.

The blooms have now been donated to two of Oxfordshire's hospices: Sobell House in Oxford, and Katharine House Hospice in Banbury.

Sobell House staff photo

Sobell House staff photo

The project was supported by Brian Ashdown, volunteer head gardener based at Katharine House Hospice, who helped with the designs and the planting of the roses at both sites, as well as being helped by several volunteer gardeners.

Diane Gardner, CEO at Sobell House, said: “This is a really lovely addition to our gardens. The roses are beautiful and will provide an abundance of fragrance and colour in the summer months.

"We are incredibly grateful to receive them.

“It has been wonderful to see our patients enjoying the gardens, especially in the finer weather, which helps make their time in our care the best it can be.”

Katharine House Hospice. Picture: Jon Lewis

Katharine House Hospice. Picture: Jon Lewis

Trevor Johnson, CEO at Katharine House, also welcomed the donation of the roses.

He said: “This is a wonderful gift. Spending time in the garden has so many benefits for physical and mental health and wellbeing.

"As we celebrate our 30th anniversary later this year, the 75 rose bushes we have received are a perfect addition to our gardens. I am sure they will be enjoyed by all at our hospice for many years to come.”

Professor John Frater, a consultant at OUH, is part of the Chelsea garden team and was involved in arranging the donations. He said: “We’re so pleased that these roses have found two excellent homes. After the arrangements changed for the flower show, we found ourselves with nearly 100 rose bushes on our hands, and wanted to find somewhere they’d be appreciated.

"I do hope both patients and staff manage to get some time to sit and enjoy them, and I’m really grateful for everyone’s help in getting them planted.”

Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, who designed the NHS tribute garden. Picture: via YouTube

Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, who designed the NHS tribute garden. Picture: via YouTube

Finding Our Way, the green tribute to the NHS due to appear at Chelsea, was designed by gardener Naomi Ferrett-Cohen.

It is described as 'a celebration of the NHS and the relentless care and support it and its staff have provided during the Coronavirus pandemic – nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, pharmacists, porters, technicians, and other unseen and unsung staff who keep the health service running.'

The garden is said to include a hardwood canopy, rills and pools as well as planting.