RCP garden calendar 2024
Illustrations by Karl Simmons
In March 2020, as the country went into lockdown in response to the COVID
crisis, the RCP Medicinal Garden closed its gates to all but NHS staff looking
for a place of respite. Along with a skeleton staff taking care of the buildings
and hotel, only the head gardener came to work on site. The rest
of the small team of gardeners and volunteers had to stay at home.
Wanting to share the beauty of the garden and to remain connected during
a lonely time, the head gardener began to share photographs on
the RCP’s intranet and with the garden team via a WhatsApp group.
Karl Simmons, artist and garden volunteer, was inspired to create
corresponding artworks. Gradually, these plant profiles of image and text
grew to fill three sketch books, creating a unique record of a time and place.
These artworks demonstrate the power of the creative response in extreme
and unusual situations and how it can enable communication and encourage
supportive networks to grow between people otherwise isolated.
The images you see in this calendar are just a selection of those illustrations,
taken directly from Karl’s sketch books, and curated to reflect the
everchanging plant life growing in the RCP garden throughout the year.