Alan Titchmarsh MBE announces Launton Grange care home as national Gardens in Bloom winner

Green-fingered residents at Launton Grange care home, in Bicester, 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 Launton Grange, on Skimmingdish Lane, 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 – Launton Grange care home in Bicester and Ash Tree House care home in Wigan.

At Launton Grange, residents decided they wanted to create 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.

Sharon Wassing, care home manager at Launton Grange, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be crowned joint Gardens in Bloom national winners. Our residents have loved turning our garden in to a haven for local wildlife. We have made a fanatic link with our local Wildlife Trust who held some talks for our residents and helped us to build hedgehog houses. They even lent us a night vision camera for the garden and we have got some amazing footage of cats, birds, a fox and even a deer visiting the garden. The residents love the fact that animals are now coming into the garden and are always excited to see the wildlife footage.”

This is an ongoing project for the gardeners at Launton Grange and in the future they plan to build a small pond, install more feeding stations and animal-friendly homes, and plant some more fruit-baring trees and berry bushes. They are also hoping to become a hub for releasing rescued hedgehogs.

The second national winner was Ash Tree House care home in Wigan which was chosen due to the huge amount of resident engagement involved in the creation of its garden. The care home created a kitchen garden so that residents could grow their own produce and then use it in the kitchens. 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.

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 Launton Grange for showing what can be achieved when staff and residents work together. They have created a really inspiring and meaningful garden that will continue to enhance their wellbeing and enrich their lives in the future. A huge well done to all our care homes which entered the 2021 Gardens in Bloom competition.”

Launton Grange care home, operated by Ideal Carehomes, is residential care home boasting a hair salon, cinema room and spacious lounges overlooking landscaped sensory gardens. All 66 bedrooms are en-suite, enabling staff to deliver person-centred care in a dignified manner, promoting independence as far as possible.