A display garden at this week’s Sandringham Flower Show (July 27th) which paid tribute to people living with dementia and their families has scooped a Gold Award, Best in Show and the People’s Choice Award.
The “Loved, Lost and Found” garden was created by Ralph and Linda Nichols and is linked to the couple’s experience of a person with dementia, namely Linda’s mother Ann.
The garden reflects the experience of a person living with dementia – it changes, can become lost, chaotic and less ordered but the overall purpose, beauty and love remains. And a garden can be a happy place for the person with dementia – giving them purpose and a reason to live on.
Speaking about the garden, Linda says, “All too often, when a person receives a diagnosis of dementia they can feel that their life is coming to an end and only unhappiness remains. This is not the case and life, love and laughter can continue.
“Our garden was created to reflect this with climbing plants, trees and a mixture of planting to show order and chaos.
“The rear of the garden has a blue door, brick paths, an old garden dresser, an Auricula theatre, made from old pallets and a shed made up from garden fencing.
“The centre of the garden has mixed flower beds, trees and old tin bath. The front is planted with grass and wild flowers around an entrance arch and picket fencing.”
A local care company, Home Instead Senior Care, who provide at home care for Linda’s mother, took her on a special day out to visit the garden at the show and the Flower Show kindly donated free tickets to allow this.
Speaking about this, Chris Carter of Home Instead said, “We care for many people who are living with dementia. The care we provide for these people is centred around companionship, mental and social stimulation and gardening is great for this. It’s also good to get people out and about.
“That’s exactly what we are doing with Ann – it’s a clear demonstration that life goes on and is a pleasure. Life and gardening can, and do, endure in the face of dementia.”
The team from Home Instead in Norwich were on hand at the show, raising money for Home Instead’s charity, The Bring Joy Foundation. The charity donates money to groups to support activities and events that “bring joy” to older people.
Chris said, “We were thrilled that the garden picked up so many awards. It’s a just reward for Linda and Ralph who have worked so hard on the garden.
“The Bring Joy Foundation also benefitted thanks to the generosity of the people visiting the garden. We have raised £118 through donations.”
Linda and Ralph worked with Graham MacDonald, manager of the North Walsham Garden Centre, who kindly donated plants and materials for the garden.