The garden of two homes for adults with learning difficulties operated by care provider Regard, has been transformed into an environment to delight the senses of its service users, with staff making the most of recent fine weather to work on the scheme.
The new sensory garden at Lynfords and The Marshes in Hailsham, Sussex, was the result of a brainstorming session by staff and residents. It involved the conversion of an area of approximately 150 square metres, shared by the two care homes, which has been redesigned featuring elements to appeal to all the senses.
Richard Murphy, Regard’s services manager in Hailsham says: “We’ve tried to provide something for everyone here, taking into account what our particular residents are likely to appreciate most and ease of maintenance.”
“Visual appeal is provided by contrasting shaded and open areas, as well as colourful planting schemes and sensory lights. Residents’ sense of touch will be stimulated by soft-textured plants and grasses such as Phormium Gold Ray and Apricot Queen, while interesting sounds are provided with wind chimes.”
“A range of herbs, fruit and vegetable plants have been put in, to appeal to the residents’ taste buds, while as far as scents are concerned, the area will really come into its own when the many flowers, fruit and herbs mature. Further visual interest will be provided with the recently-planted Polygorium covers the new pergola.”
Residents, mainly elderly, have enjoyed getting their fingers dirty putting new plants in, and observing work in progress. There are some keen gardeners living at the homes, who are looking forward to helping with ongoing maintenance, including caring for seedlings in the newly-built greenhouse.
With ease of access being key to the residents’ ongoing enjoyment, special attention has been paid to the creation of wide, level pathways for wheelchair users, and to locating vegetables and herbs in elevated trugs, and flowers in raised beds.
The growing scheme includes a three-tier planter full of strawberries – pretty, fragrant and tasty all at once – which serves to disguise an unsightly, but essential, man-hole cover. And in keeping with Regard’s green credentials, the service has introduced a composting area at the far end of the garden.
To complete the first phase of works, a circular flower-bed has been cut into a previously inaccessible area of the garden, and paths have been dressed with chippings made on-site from recycling wood cut from around the homes. Just the rockery and the sensory lights remain to be finished.
Find out more about Regard at www.regard.co.uk