Charlie Dimmock unearths great care home gardeners

This year's Barchester in Bloom gardening competition was hosted by celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock at the Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club, in East Sussex.

Charlie Dimmock, said: "Once a gardener, always a gardener! Meaningful activities like gardening are an important part of life and I can't see that changing when I get older. Bloom is a fantastic way to encourage older people and those living with dementia to connect with their outdoor environments and really make the garden an extension of their home. The competition always unearths plenty of talented gardeners that grow colourful hanging baskets, create sensory gardens and beautifully kept grounds that look spectacular, making the homes an inviting place to be all year round."

This year's green fingered winners were:

Laurel Bank care home in Lancaster, Best Community Garden & Garden of the Year 
Queens Court care home in Wimbledon, Best Hanging Basket display 
Newton House care home in Grantham, Best Floral or Vegetable Arrangement 
West Oak care home in Wokingham won, Best Sensory Garden 
Gryphon Place care home in Norwich, Best Residents' Garden

At Barchester homes, gardening is a popular activity among many residents and a new Woodland Trust initiative ‘We’re going to the Woods!’ has also started to take off. Many Barchester staff have been trained by the Woodland Trust’s VisitWoods partner, Dementia Adventure, to support them to guide residents and their families in their local woods. The project provides resources such as nature swatches to identify different species of trees, flowers and insects.