Friends make sensory garden tribute to Anne Cormie

Erica Randell, Clare Morter, Richard Brown, Steve Shaw, Andrew Cormie, Robert Unwin, Georgina Ankers and Claude the dog' start work on the new sensory garden at the Marie Curie Hospice. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Erica Randell, Clare Morter, Richard Brown, Steve Shaw, Andrew Cormie, Robert Unwin, Georgina Ankers and Claude the dog' start work on the new sensory garden at the Marie Curie Hospice. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A SENSORY garden has sprung up to fulfil the last wish of a popular gardener at the Botanics who died last year.

Friends and colleagues of Anne Cormie (née Prestage) set to work on Friday to transform a corner of the Marie Curie Hospice, in Fairmilehead, into a healing garden.

The 52-year-old fought a ten-year battle with breast cancer before moving to the hospice in November where she succumbed to the disease.

Her beloved husband Andrew, 64, said he wanted to “continue her dream” by creating the garden along with her colleagues from the Inverleith visitor attraction, where she worked in the alpine and rock gardens for around ten years.

Andrew, who lives near Linlithgow, said: “In the last two years of her life she got this idea into her head that she really wanted to build a sensory or healing garden for the benefit of other people.

“When she realised the cancer was going to overtake 
everything, she was very distressed about not being able to complete this dream of hers.”

After her death Andrew decided to try to realise her dream and was “blown away” by the enthusiasm from friends and colleagues who wanted to help with the project.

The hospice where Anne spent her last few days volunteered a corner of its garden for the project, which will provide a place of reflection for visitors and patients alike.

Andrew, who works as a freelance market researcher, said: “Anne had a long battle with cancer and I was deeply moved and impressed in witnessing first-hand the quality of care she received in her last few days.

“She was a great girl and I miss her very much every day.”

Staff from the Botanics have lent expertise and manpower to the project to remember their colleague, who gave up a career in nursing to follow her passion for gardening.

Robert Unwin, senior horticulturalist at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said: “Anne worked with us for a number of years and was passionate about sharing her love of gardening.

“I can’t think of a more fitting tribute than being able to create a special sensory-themed garden in her memory.

“We’ll be planting healing plants and including a bench in the design, complementing the existing garden.

“There will also be plants that Anne collected during her trips to Georgia in Eastern Europe and from her home.”

The beautiful new garden will provide a welcome comfort to staff and patients at the hospice, said Jacqueline Heggie, facilities manager at the Edinburgh Marie Curie 
Hospice.

Ms Heggie said: “We’re thrilled to accept this 
special gift in memory of Anne from Andrew, their friends and Robert and his team from The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

“The sensory-themed garden will be a welcome addition to our garden which is tended to by our team of dedicated volunteers and we’re excited to see how it will grow and develop over the coming years.”

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com