As many across the region continue to face additional challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, The Gardens Group has been seeking out opportunities to bring the positive power of plants to flower beds, vegetable plots and window sills in need. Utilising unsold plants to contribute to the work of carers, hospital staff and teachers, The Gardens Group is putting excess stock to good use in support of key workers and everyone doing their bit to stay home throughout the lockdown.
Continuing its longstanding relationship with Dorset-based social enterprise, Future Roots, Poundbury Gardens near Dorchester has contributed small plant kits to the members of The Countrymen’s Club, a group of vulnerable adults who suffer from conditions including dementia. Intended to keep these service users positive, occupied and engaged with nature, while they are unable to access the farm’s programme, the plant kits contain a collection of plants that need to be potted on, along with some compost and larger pots to plant into.
Reaching out to NHS workers in the surrounding communities, the staff at Castle Gardens have donated a selection of houseplants to Yeatman Hospital in Sherborne, brightening up window sills across the site, while the team at Brimsmore Gardens supplied some spring plants for the flower beds at Yeovil hospital, providing a cheerful welcome for all, including wildlife visitors.
Any other items that could use a little extra TLC are being donated to local nursing homes, not-for-profit organisations and schools like Ash Primary School near Martock, which stayed open throughout Easter for the children of key workers. Receiving compost and plants for the vegetable garden, the pupils were able to get stuck into learning about where their food comes from, while benefiting from this connection with the great outdoors.
Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group and chairman of the Garden Centre Association, commented: “Community is at the heart of what we do at The Gardens Group, so we’re looking for every opportunity to support those in need during this period. Surplus stock has become a great vehicle for this, and while a loss in sales in never welcome, it’s very rewarding to see the impact that these plants have had in schools, homes and hospitals across Dorset and Somerset. In many ways, it’s been a great reminder of what makes plants and gardening so special, so it’s given our team a big boost as they continue to go above and beyond throughout this incredibly challenging time.”
Telephone orders for the garden centres and farm shop can be placed over the phone, and delivery is free within 25 miles. Customers are advised to keep an eye on The Gardens Group’s website for the current status of its ordering and delivery service, as sometimes it will need to be suspended so the reduced teams can catch up with orders.
Brimsmore Gardens, Yeovil - 01935 411000
The Apple Tree Farm Shop, Yeovil - 01935 426596
Castle Gardens, Sherborne - 01935 814633
Poundbury Gardens, Dorchester - 01305 25725