We have felt very fortunately throughout the COVID lockdown to have a big garden and the time to really enjoy it. The weather has also been superb and residents have certainly made the most of being outside.
How does your garden grow?
We have created a huge allotment area in our garden, growing everything from tomatoes, to peas, beetroot and even quince. Our carer Wendy often spends her extra time outside tending the vegetables and we even have locally sourced fertiliser from nurse Lorraine’s alpacas!
Residents have loved getting stuck in as well with the growing, picking and eating. It has been reminiscent for some during COVID of the wartime spirit of Digging for Victory. So satisfying eating freshly shelled peas and warm tomatoes straight off the vines.
Encouraging wildlife to the garden
Our Birdbox Competition was a lovely activity, which residents and staff took part in, painting and decorating different themed bird boxes. We asked families to decide the winners by voting on Facebook. Congratulations to Rose, who won first place followed by MG, Judy and Nancy. Rose brought in lots of cakes to share as a thank you to everyone who took part.
The RSBP have also gifted us a range of bird boxes for our garden, which will encourage the nesting robins and blue tits.
We have helped bring butterflies to our garden with a Live Butterfly Pavillion Hatching Kit. It arrived with some teeny caterpillars, which grew and grew and grew. Everyone remembered the Hungry Caterpillar story book! It was fascinating to watch them form their chrysalis and appear as beautiful Painted Ladies. No lockdown for these beauties as we released them on a sunny day in our garden.
Running alongside the butterfly hatching we took part in the Big Butterfly Count for UK Conservation. https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/ We had to count and record the butterflies in our garden – so many more this year and it’s lovely to see that we are drawing them in with our planting.
Deterring the crows
We took part in our sister home, The Lawns, Scarecrow Competition. The theme was to create a hero scarecrow and after some deliberation, our residents decided to create The Sir Captain Tom Moore Scarecrow. What a hero and inspiration to us all. Our residents have avidly followed his story on the BBC and he was a clear choice for our hero scarecrow.
Before we took him to The Lawns he went to visit each resident around the home. He did not win the competition but is a winner in our hearts. He is now deterring the birds from eating our veggies.
Other garden activities
Through the hot spells residents have enjoyed fish and chip suppers and sundowner tipples in the garden. We have had a huge range of activities under our gazebo, from making posies of herbs, to playing table football, to outside baking. Beer bread has been a favourite! Residents have also been potting up alpines, which we hope to sell as a fundraising project. A huge thank you for the donations of terracotta pots and well done to Nancy for helping with the messy part!
More recently families have been able to visit residents in our garden, socially distanced and with face masks. They have been so impressed by the garden transformation and residents have been keen to show off their handiwork. It has been lovely for families to know their loved ones have been happy and busy through lockdown and it has been wonderful to see families together again in our garden.