A volunteer team from ZSH Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne has just completed an extensive eco garden make over for Newgrange Care Home in Cheshunt.
This was a project inspired by other British zoos who are also helping local communities who are in need of some nature TLC. Paradise Wildlife Park chose Newgrange Care Home, based in Cheshunt. The park saw the home and believed we could offer them something special. There was a little used garden space so we felt our experienced gardeners, along with the grant received from the National Lottery, could help.
Co-team Leader Ruth Spiller explained the background to the project:
“At ZSH Paradise Wildlife Park, we pride ourselves on bringing nature to people of all backgrounds. As a result, we identified a wonderful opportunity to reach out to those living in assisted care homes. Nature is an important and powerful tool to teach and inspire, and following our involvement in the Channel 4 programme, ‘Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds’, we realised we wanted to encourage more engagement between families and nature.”
On Thursday 26th September 2019, the education and garden team went down to Newgrange Care Home to start their first day of rebuilding the garden areas. The teams planted all new plants, including extra raised planters so the residents can care for the plants without having to bend down. They also fitted in an arbour, bird feeders and a hedgehog home so that the residents can watch the wildlife comfortably.
Ruth Spiller continues:
“While we were visiting and speaking with residents they said how they used to love watching the birds and other wildlife in their own gardens, and didn’t have that much opportunity now. Hearing that, we knew we could make a difference!”
From the Grand Garden Project, we hope that more wildlife visits the gardens. Wildlife ID cards are provided that help residents identify the wildlife found in the garden and a scrapbook to note down what has been spotted. Not only is this a fun pass time for the residents but noting down wildlife can be helpful for getting involved in ‘citizen science’ projects. Overall, we would like to use this project as a means to improve the quality of life of the residents. We would also hope that the residents and their families get involved in taking care of their surrounding natural environment.
“We sincerely hope that the Grand Garden project will add a whole new dynamic for the residents living at Newgrange and also for their families, giving them a project they can share within the home. It also provides an area for the younger members of the families to get involved”.
Alex Macfarlane, Deputy Operations Director, said:
“We are so grateful both to the National Lottery and, of course, to the Grand Gardens team from Paradise who not only applied to the Lottery on our behalf but who also carried out all the hard work. Their work and dedication have been wonderful and we know our residents, their families and our staff will love the transformation, to watch it grow and of course, to welcome new life into the garden. We aim to use the garden even more than we do already. We’re thrilled!”
Paradise Wildlife Park hopes that this first Grand Gardens project will not only inspire families to value the nature around them but, most importantly, to spend time together and remember the experience for a lifetime.