Green-Fingered Winners

Our July competition involved looking at the best and most innovative activities taking place in the garden. We were interested in what activities you do, and how you do them to create a really enjoyable experience for your residents. We loved reading all the entries, and have picked four winners, whose entries you can read below.

Because the standard was so high, we have decided to feature a series of runners up too – their entries will be on our website soon.

Catia Rodrigues, Cedars Castle Nursing Home, Shaftesbury

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. 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. 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.

Nikki Fletcher, The Rise Care Home, Dawlish

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. Some of the residents are visually impaired, but also enjoy the garden by listening, smelling and touching. 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.

Vanessa Cozens, Elleray Hall, Teddington

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. 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. 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. For members less mobile, there’s a vegetable area and the harvest is shared among them and used for a celebratory meal.

Gill Rowden, St Marks Court Care Home, Swansea

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. The garden is enjoyed by all the residents and relatives alike. 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. 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. We also have potted plants for the residents who are not able go outdoors.