Alan Titchmarsh MBE announces Ash Tree House care home as national Gardens in Bloom winner

Green-fingered residents at Ash Tree House care home, in Wigan, are celebrating after being crowned as joint national winners of the 2021 Gardens in Bloom competition run by care provider, Ideal Carehomes.

Celebrity gardener, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, sent his congratulations to the staff and residents at Ash Tree House, on Warwick Drive in Hindley, and thanked everyone who took part in the competition.

Alan, who is famous for presenting Ground Force and Love Your Garden, said: “I would like to congratulate everybody at Ideal Carehomes for joining in. It’s so important that we recognise the value of flowers, trees, shrubs and everything green in improving our mental health and giving us a much brighter outlook on life. Thanks for doing your bit to keep those care homes blooming.”

Gardens in Bloom is an annual competition run throughout all Ideal Carehomes to engage its staff, residents and local communities in working together to embrace their love of the great outdoors and create wonderful outside spaces for everyone to enjoy.

The standard of all the gardens in 2021 was extremely high and so the judges had a very tough decision to choose one overall winner, so they picked two – Ash Tree House care home in Wigan and Launton Grange care home in Bicester.

At Ash Tree House, residents created a kitchen garden so that they could grow their own produce and then use it in the kitchen. The care home even managed to get relatives and the local community involved, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and was praised by judges for the huge amount of resident engagement involved in the creation of its garden. Their plans for the garden also ensured that those who don’t have green fingers, or who wanted to enjoy the gardens from indoors, could still get involved. The judges were very impressed that the residents were also enjoying eating their produce.

Ash Tree House resident, Audrey Booth, said: “We had great fun in the garden last summer and it was wonderful to be able to enjoy the fresh produce straight from the garden. When we harvested our potatoes, we made them into chip butties which tasted amazing. We are so pleased that we have been crowned joint winners and we’re all looking forward to getting back out in the garden this year.”

Chris Durnan, care home manager at Ash Tree House, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be crowned joint Gardens in Bloom national winners. Our residents have loved creating a garden which they can also enjoy cooking and eating. There’s nothing better than growing your own fresh produce and then enjoying the fruits of your labour with your evening meal. Our team of gardeners have done a brilliant job and I am so proud that they have got the recognition they deserve for all their hard work.”

The second national winner was Launton Grange care home in Bicester where residents created a wildlife oasis for their garden and linked up with the local Wildlife Trust to identify ways to attract wildlife. They created a giant bug hotel, built a hedgehog house, installed bird feeders, water baths and bird houses, and planted lots of pollinators.

Four Gardens in Bloom regional winners were also announced as Fairway View care home in Nottingham, Woodthorpe Lodge care home in Loughborough, De Brook Lodge care home in Manchester and Ashworth Grange care home Dewsbury.

Stacey Linn, managing director of Ideal Carehomes, said: “I would like to congratulate the staff and residents at Ash Tree House for showing what can be achieved when staff and residents work together. They have created a really inspiring and very tasty garden that has enhanced their wellbeing and enriched their lives. A huge well done to all our care homes which entered the 2021 Gardens in Bloom competition.”

Ash Tree House care home, operated by Ideal Carehomes, is a residential care home boasting a hair salon, cinema room and spacious lounges overlooking landscaped sensory gardens. All 60 bedrooms are en-suite, enabling staff to deliver person-centred care in a dignified manner, promoting independence as far as possible.