Garden Activities

Recently, we looked at how to get the best out of your garden, and asked you to share some of your most innovative activities with us. From cream tea parties, picnics and book clubs under the shade of old oak trees, to Tai Chi on the lawn, fish ponds and raised vegetable beds; we’ve collated our favourites below.

Flora and Fauna

The raised beds provide easy access for people with mobility challenges – sporting a full sensory display in terms of alternating blooms and divine smells, and herbs for the taste factor.(Nicola Golightly, Fotherby House, Louth)

This year we entered the ‘Bisto sunflower competition’ – each resident planted their own sunflower and measured them weekly to see who was winning. We also have wild animal feeders around the grounds, as well as our own chickens. (Wendy Parker, Ysguborwen Care Home, Aberdare)

Our award-winning garden is maintained solely by volunteers and members. We all enjoy sitting at the tables and walking along the pathways with the sights, smells and sounds promoting relaxation.(Vanessa Cozens, Elleray Hall, Teddington)

We have a raised fish pond which is the home to four fish, purchased last year on a visit to the garden centre while on an outing, where we also enjoyed some light beverages and cake at the cafe.(Gill Rowden, St Marks Court Care Home, Swansea)

Grow Your Own

For members less mobile, there’s a vegetable area and the harvest is shared among them and used for a celebratory meal. (Vanessa Cozens, Elleray Hall, Teddington)

In our garden area, we have some raised flower beds and some large planting boxes. These are lovingly cared for by one of our residents, Elsie, and her daughter Ann. (Gill Rowden, St Marks Court Care Home, Swansea)

At Cedars, we spend as much time as possible with our residents in the garden growing vegetables and picking flowers to make table decorations together. (Catia Rodrigues, Cedars Castle Nursing Home, Shaftesbury)

Natural Wonders

The Rise has beautiful mature gardens with ancient majestic trees, abundant with life. Residents frequently enjoy strolling around, taking in nature while chatting to friends, remembering names of plants and birds. We share our memories with others old and new, and this encourages friendships and a sense of belonging. (Nikki Fletcher, The Rise Care Home, Dawlish)

We celebrate our garden space every day with a scheduled walk or wheelchair ride after lunch. Members of both communities – staff and volunteers – relish the opportunity to chat and take in the flora and fauna as we are often accompanied by residents’ pets. Even when the weather is inclement, the team encourage this outdoor walk by ensuring a collection of umbrellas are available by the front door. (Geraldine Bunning, Sunrise Tettenhall, Wolverhampton)

Our book club meets under the shade of our trees, our pet therapy animals visit us outdoors, and also all year round we’re in the garden for our weekly Tai Chi sessions.(Vanessa Cozens, Elleray Hall, Teddington)

Last week we held a ‘Back in Time’ picnic and our residents shared memories of childhood picnics and were entertained by a local band singing, while enjoying delicious cakes with lashings of ginger beer! When the weather is warm we enjoy games and ice creams in the sunshine too. (Catia Rodrigues, Cedars Castle Nursing Home, Shaftesbury)

Garden Parties

We enter the ‘Richmond in Bloom’ competition each year, and in summer we host an annual volunteer’s garden party – a cream tea event with music. (Vanessa Cozens, Elleray Hall, Teddington)

Recently, local school children had a bubble blowing afternoon here, along with the residents who also enjoyed fishing for plastic ducks in the pond in the garden area. (Gill Rowden, St Marks Court Care Home, Swansea)

Creative Diversions

At Fotherby House we created a beach hut themed patio area, to provide an exciting colourful space for residents to both entertain, socialise and relax in, and a quiet reflection area for those that prefer. Our wind chimes provide a relaxing acoustic backdrop to our summer fete, a barbeque or simple social gathering with Pimms and lemonade, whilst potting plants, or even whilst enjoying an ice cream in between watering sessions. (Nicola Golightly, Fotherby House, Louth)

Last year we created a wall mosaic for our memorial garden, each resident chose a subject for the mosaic and painted a pebble for those who have died here. (Catia Rodrigues, Cedars Castle Nursing Home, Shaftesbury)

We have a private childminder that comes in either weekly or every two weeks for the children and residents to do gardening activities together. Having the children involved in the activities always brings a smile to their faces, and they work as a team. This also enables residents with limited mobility to join in. (Charlene Rosewarne, East Hill House, Liss)

A wire sculpture of a person sits on a log and can be adorned with various art works – at the moment he is decorated as a beekeeper and we have wired bees all around him which sway in the breeze and can be seen by less adventurous residents. (Wendy Parker, Ysguborwen Care Home, Aberdare)

We recently made miniature gardens on large plates using all we could find in the garden – lush green moss for lawns, ponds, rockeries and gravel paths; tiny chive flowers and tree blossom for borders and realistic trees picked from evergreen hedges. Even the garden furniture constructed from sticks and stones. It was such fun. (Nikki Fletcher, The Rise Care Home, Dawlish)

Bringing The Outside In

In some of our bedrooms, stickers of trees and wildlife have been put up for more isolated people, with window feeders so they can watch the birds eating. (Wendy Parker, Ysguborwen Care Home, Aberdare)

Some of the residents are visually impaired, but also enjoy the garden by listening, smelling and touching. (Nikki Fletcher, The Rise Care Home, Dawlish)

We also have potted plants for the residents who are not able to go outdoors. (Gill Rowden, St Marks Court Care Home, Swansea)

Thanks to winners and runners up for all their wonderfully creative ideas. (You can see the full winners entries here).