All Things bright and Beautiful

A carnival of colour is about to blossom at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, thanks to the green-fingered efforts of elderly patients in wards across the area. The fruits of their labours are due to appear in eight “greenhouses” sited throughout the hospital and its grounds. These will include felt birds and tropical flowers, plants in old-fashioned china cups and mosaic planters.

A special preview of the new Greenhouse Gallery has been arranged for invited guests and the media on Thursday 29th March 2012 between 2.30pm and 4.30pm at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Greenhouse Gallery is the culmination of a year-long arts programme between Artlink Central and NHS Forth Valley and is designed to ‘bring the outside in’ for those who no longer have access to a garden. The project began with patients being asked about their memories of gardening, and what plants and flowers they liked in particular. It was the brainchild of Artlink Central Development Artist Christine Hilditch, who worked with a small team of artists.

She explained: “I used to care for my grandparents and I know how much they loved their garden. I have noticed that the patients who have been involved have grown in confidence. Some like to stay in their own rooms and as a result have become quite isolated. However since they have been to the groups their social skills have increased and they have made new friends and chatted much more freely.”

The portable greenhouses each have a different theme. One will contain ‘seed bombs’ in small butterfly and flower shapes. These are made from paper pulp with seeds sprinkled through and then dried. When the paper is moistened the seeds can be planted in a garden.

Another greenhouse features a crossword theme with plants in tea cups and teapots – to reflect having a cuppa and cake whilst pondering the clues!  And there are bunches of felt tropical flowers providing a riot of colour.

Babs McCool, NHS Forth Valley Charitable Arts and Wellbeing Co-ordinator, added:

“The artists worked closely with NHS Forth Valley staff and patients in the following wards:  Ward 5 Bannockburn Hospital; Units 3 and 4 Old Age psychiatry Falkirk Community Hospital; Ward 4, Forth Valley Royal Hospital,  Orchard House Day Hospital; Ward 1 Clackmannanshire Community Healthcare Centre and Ward 1, Bo’ness Hospital.

The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday 30 March 30th until Friday 27th April 2012. It forms part of NHS Forth Valley’s wider art strategy which is designed to involve patients, staff and local people in a wide range of art projects across Forth Valley. “