Best Sheltered Scheme Garden

This is our entry for the 2016 Competition. Last year we submitted 132 photos showing how we have transformed the gardens from overgrown borders and fence lines to an inviting interesting space with something to catch the eye throughout the year.

Although we cut back for winter we are are careful to heap leaves under hedges and large shrubs to give wildlife including hedgehogs a refuge and hunting ground.

The first flowers appear in late Autumn with Cyclamen and Hellebores  this is quickly followed by Crocus and Daffodils …the old Forsythia and Japonica made a better show as two.years of cutting at the right time encouraged healthy blooms

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New for this year.

One gardener decided he did not want to plant his daffodils and tulips as they slowed up his summer planting so we dug three bays that a resident could see from her 1st floor window and she was able to look out on spring colour.

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Spring is when we really put on a show for the pollinators and the 90 meter back fence holds hundreds of foxgloves and a mass of forget-me -nots. These help to keep the weeds, brambles and ivy at bay from the jungle next door.

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May saw masses of Lilly of the Valley in a bed which one resident holds dear to her heart.

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Our formal bed gardener had already planted rows of Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus), Irises (Reticulata) Lillies and Dianthus. The perfume was wonderful in the hot days of July.

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In the less formal beds as the foxgloves ended so the Aquilegia took over followed by Alliums, Penstemon and Veronica which made a cheerful show. Some of the roses have benefited from proper care and feeding and the first flush was very enjoyable.

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Meanwhile in the Grow Wild bed  planted last year we had a surprise because the annuals which flowered last year made way for masses of perennials and bi annuals with Pink Campion ruling the roost. This together with our ‘nettle patch’  and planting eight Buddleia is an important part of helping pollinators including bees and butterflies. A first this year was to see the Goldfinches feeding on the flower heads of the Knapweed and Centaurea Montana

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We have maintained the herb garden which was planted for an ex-resident who was a chef. This year we let the thyme,marjoram, hyssop flower but kept the Rosemary clipped. By July the lavender had started to show which gave this border a Mediterranean look.

We have now planted 120 french marigolds throughout the Scheme to give us more colour through August September and until the first frost. We grow much from seed and cutting. The tomatoes are a bit behind but we have already had two pickings of runner beans and will hopefully have courgettes soon.

New for 2016

The gardeners (residents) cut down two diseased trees and one gardener purchased a plum and a pear tree so hopefully we will have fruit next year.

The gardeners respect the wishes of the none participant residents and work hard to provide them with planting that they want and also endeavour not to encroach on their space. Some of them enjoy the idea of being able to ‘forage’ in their own grounds.

This is just a flavour of our year; we are struggling with the climate  and will be experimenting with drought resistant plants in some beds. We are also still restrained by some planting and fencing which is beyond our control but grateful that we have an understanding Landlord who recognises the fantastic value to health ( including mental health) of being able to garden in our scheme.

We have many more photos and would love to share them with you….

I forgot the last new for 2016

A close up of a couple of the lillies and our tribute for the Queen’s birthday a patriotic place to sit

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