‘Flower power’ supports National Garden Scheme

In the garden at Woodpeckers are resident Betty Hampton and gardener Chris Marsh.
In the garden at Woodpeckers are resident Betty Hampton and gardener Chris Marsh.

Green-fingered residents at Outstanding-rated Woodpeckers enjoyed its debut in the prestigious National Garden Scheme (NGS), despite a lack of community visitors.

The Brockenhurst home was accepted for inclusion last year, before the pandemic ruled out a traditional open day. With lockdown restrictions continuing, staff and residents decided to go ahead and hold their own internal NGS day in the spring, raising money for charities in the process.

Members of the Woodpeckers garden club joined fellow residents for the opportunity to view the colourful bulbs and blossoms in the company of in-house gardening experts and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon tea on the lawn.

Our Head Gardener Charles Hubberstey said: “NGS expects very high standards, so it is a huge honour to be included in the scheme.

“It was too early for the home to be open to all visitors, so the team made a special effort to open the wonderful gardens just for the residents and help everyone enjoy a garden day.”

Garden club member Jean Knight praised the work of Woodpeckers’ regular gardener Chris Marsh, saying: “He must have worked hard for it to look so beautiful.”

Fellow residents were equally impressed. Iris Woodford said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and the raffle was the icing on the cake, as I won a gorgeous vase.” Elspeth Shepard said: “We have such an attractive garden. You can look out from any window and see how magnificent it is. I think the mowed lawn in circles is a triumph.”

Woodpeckers is the latest Colten Care home to join the NGS, after Brook View in West Moors and Braemar Lodge in Salisbury.

Once accepted, venues are listed in the NGS Garden Handbook – or ‘Yellow Book’ as it is more commonly known – joining thousands of private gardens open to the public in normal times on scheduled dates.

The NGS started in 1927 and has since raised nearly £60 million for good causes, including nursing and health charities and community gardening projects.

Seated in the garden at Woodpeckers are, from left, residents Elspeth Shepard and Betty Hampton, and Companionship Team Member Rose Applin.

Seated in the garden at Woodpeckers are, from left, residents Elspeth Shepard and Betty Hampton, and Companionship team member Rose Applin.

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