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Suffolk care homes go head to head for Stow in Bloom gardening competition

Residents at Melford Court Care Home in Long Melford take part in the 2018 Stow in Bloom gardening competition. (3316938)
Residents at Melford Court Care Home in Long Melford take part in the 2018 Stow in Bloom gardening competition. (3316938)

Care home residents showed their green fingers in a gardening competition this summer, as part of a healthcare trust’s efforts to enhance their wellbeing.

The Stow Healthcare group, which runs five facilities, including homes in Long Melford and Halstead, staged a Stow in Bloom competition, which aimed to replicate a traditional flower and produce show.

The purpose of the project was to enable elderly residents to engage in therapeutic gardening and creative activities, with categories ranging from the tallest sunflower, to the best hanging basket or vegetable crop.

Pam and Bob Jackson, the proprietors of Woolpit Nurseries, and Suffolk-based garden design Jane Hamblin served as the judges, touring all five Stow Healthcare homes and awarding rosettes to the top three entries in each category.

Halstead Hall earned the highest number of wins, receiving the Stow in Bloom trophy.

Ruth French, director at Stow Healthcare, said: “Gardening has a tremendous impact on wellbeing.

“We are delighted our residents and staff have been so engaged in designing the categories of the competition, before getting started on their entries.

“It has been inspiring to visit all our homes in recent weeks to see gardens flourishing, with careful watering. One resident even requested a new name badge saying ‘head gardener’, which has been ordered for him.

“The event was a huge success, with excitement and enthusiasm, along with some light, competitive spirit.

“It has been a wonderful way for staff, residents and members of many community groups to come together and enjoy all things green, while getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Residents who struggle to get outside were also able to take part by making miniature fairy gardens and knitted floral creations.

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