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Ready Steady Grow 2021 entries - Seasonal Pride

Seasonal Pride

Whether you have a small patio area, or a large garden you can produce herbs, grow vegetables and/or fruit from scratch, nurture them, and watch them grow. See if you can become more self-sufficient and also cut your grocery spend.

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1. Baird Lodge, Ely

Residents at the retirement living service have spent time together in the garden by growing vegetables in six new raised beds, they acquired for the competition. Everything has been grown from seeds and residents have tended to them. Those less able were able to help with watering, those who couldn't help enjoyed watching the process.

They said: “We are looking forward to all cooking up a dish using the vegetables from the veg plot and herb garden.”

2. Bal Edmund, St. Leonards-on-Sea

In the spring, residents started by clearing flower beds, weeding and improving the soil ready for planting. Resident, Julia took charge planting and watering seeds and plans were made to transform the patio with raised beds and pots. Everyone helps themselves to the garden’s produce and veg plants, seeds, compost, trays and pots from charity, Hands of Hope. They have grown sweetcorn, spinach, broad beans, courgettes, beetroots, lettuce, tomatoes and an abundance of herbs. 

Julia said: “I found it peaceful and calming working outside and a lot better than being indoors. We are making seasonal quiches from our produce and everyone gets together outdoors to enjoy it.

3. Elizabeth House, Taunton

Elizabeth House's communal garden has had a complete transformation! Resident, Micah has put a lot of thought and time into the finished article. The planters contain beautiful flowers including scented roses that other residents can easily access to prune and water, also a herb garden containing parsley, sage, coriander, chives, mint and fennel, along with grow-bags containing potatoes, rhubarb and strawberries. New bird feeders and tables not only attract an array of bird life but also the squirrels.

Residents said: “It has been a pleasure to watch the garden flourish and be enjoyed by so many”.

4. Highly Commended - Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester

Residents decided to create an area where residents could go to relax. They have but painted and treating the garden furniture, and put solar powered light, creating a wonderful atmosphere and ambience around the Pergola so the garden can be enjoyed day and night no matter the season!

Residents said: “We have put plants in the pots on the side of the pergola to make it more inviting. We completely cleared the garden, cleared the middle where it was overgrown and now our birdbath is there for all to see!”

5. Hazel Court, Worcester

After a difficult year some of the residents at Hazel Court decoded to work together and work as a team to see what they could grow. They regularly met at the raised beds and planted a range of flowers, vegetables and herbs. They have had lots of fun socialising outside and have especially enjoyed seeing their herbs and raspberries grow. They have all taken responsibility for caring for the raised beds with support from staff.

Residents said: “We are looking forward to seeing what else we can grow in the future to contribute to a communal meal.”

6. Ryan (Richard House, Brentwood)

This competition has helped Ryan to alleviate their mental health giving a sense of self-worth with the daily responsibility of watering the plants.

Ryan said: “I enjoyed watching the produce grow, especially the chilli plants and will make a salsa or spicy soup when the produce is ready. This also brought back fond memories of going to the allotment with my nan and encouraged me to eat my vegetables. I often like to spend time on my own but this helped me to engage with others and enjoy receiving support from staff. I hope to have an outdoor space to grow vegetable when I live independently.”

7. Bromfield House, Saffron Walden

Residents have planted, replated and spruced up their small communal garden. Led by their house representative, Ian they have worked together to enjoy the benefits of gardening and the outdoor space available to them.  They have made use of raised beds to plant potatoes with spaces to grow fruit and vegetables for all residents to pick and enjoy. Our residents have also planted house plants to brighten up the internal spaces showing that gardening isn’t just for the outdoors.

Residents said: “We’ve made a real effort to make our communal spaces pleasant places for all to enjoy at any time of the year.”

8. Highly Commended - Garden Walk, Cambridgeshire

Making the raised beds, planting vegetables and flowers and general improvements to the garden had a positive impact on residents’ wellbeing The garden was overgrown and in desperate need of improvements and residents entered the competition with hopes that the produce would be used for the house and for communal meals in the future, including summer BBQs and even Christmas dinner.

Residents felt a sense of accomplishment when they saw progress with the garden.  They said: “It’s really helped to boost our confidence and independence. We’re feeling inspired to take on other gardening projects in the future.”

9. Highly Commended - Grace (Rachel House, Banbury)

Grace was looking for a hobby that would have a positive effect on her and her daughters mental wellbeing and something to do outdoors. She enjoys looking after plants, especially when she has time to herself. She used raised beds which were moved from a different area in the garden, cleaned and cleared out before they could be used.

Grace said: “I enjoy cooking and would like to experiment more with recipes I use. I planted tomatoes, courgettes and peppers and a selection of herbs that other residents can also use in the kitchen. I have never planted vegetables before but have really enjoyed it.”

10. Drawbridge House, Bridgwater

Residents wanted to transform their garden in to a piece of paradise. For most, it was the first time that they had been involved in planting anything, so it was a great experience. Through planning meetings, they agreed to grow flowers to attract wildlife and grow vegetables for communal meals. They grew potatoes, carrots, broad beans, tomatoes, runner beans and French beans. Recycled materials were used as much as possible and everyone participate in some way.

They said: “We are all really pleased and proud of the progress. It’s now an exciting, calm and beautiful space to relax and socialise in.”

11. Winner - Resident B (Pebmarsh Close, Colchester)

B wanted to create a garden for all enjoy their garden as when he moved in it was very overgrown. He was very pro-active in sourcing plants and garden items for free from the local community. He has grown and cared for everything himself.

Due to his declining physical health he can struggle to get out but staff say the garden is looking the best it has ever been! B said: “This has given me something to concentrate on, enjoy and look forward to each day.” B really wants to make the garden presentable and has taken a keen interest in creating a lovely welcoming garden.

12. Haringey Thrive Services, London

Residents were ecstatic to be involved and garden for the first time. It has meant a lot them including meeting others from across Haringey Thrive services. They have thoroughly enjoyed it and have learnt a lot about plants and nature, while it has helped with their mental health. They put a lot of work and passion into this garden.

One resident said: “I can’t wait to see the end results and cook something nice”. Another said “I am proud of myself for taking part and seeing things grow.” Another said: “It’s about being part of the experience and having fun”. That’s what they did when they enjoyed their first BBQ surrounded by their new plants.