I first started as a garden volunteer at the old Hospice in Mill Road and enjoyed the wonderful friendships and satisfaction it gave me.
After just over a year of being there, the new Hospice at Shelford Bottom was near completion, and I was asked if I would like to give some input into the garden. I was invited in for some meetings to discuss the new gardens. It was such a privilege to be involved: planning out the many plants with Graham Hambling and other volunteer teams; and following the plans so that plants went into the right areas around the building. It was a very long process.
All went well and it all came together wonderfully. A good time was had by all, and we had some excellent plants to put in and brilliant help in planting as well. I look back now at how wonderful the gardens are now, and the many kind words visitors say to me and the rest of the garden volunteers. It was, and is, a wonderful team and we are so lucky that so many people gave, and continue to give, their time to the Hospice.
I have been a volunteer gardener now for six years and I enjoy every moment of it. Usually, depending on the restrictions for the pandemic, I come into the Hospice twice a week with Graham who is another gardening volunteer. To us, it is so rewarding to give back a little bit of our time for others and create a little bit of pleasure for others through our gardening.
One thing I do regularly is mow the grassy area that you get to when you walk out of the Bistro towards where Arthur’s Shed is. When you see the lawn (especially from above or after it has been recently cut) you will see both light and dark shades [lines]. This is done for a reason. I have a very particular way of mowing the lawn so that visitors approaching it from any side can see both the light and dark shades. This means whether visitors are in IPU bedrooms, the Living Well Lounge or the Bistro, they can all see the different shades. It gives me great pleasure when the visitors say how wonderful it always looks.
In the pandemic and when restrictions are in place, we have not been able to come into the Hospice to do the gardens or cut the grass, but at these times the Facilities Team do a great job looking after things for us.