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Blooming marvellous garden for North Belfast Care Home

Matthew Wylie from Peninsula Care Services, edible gardener and author Jilly Dougan, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell and manager of Clifton Nursing Home Stuart Johnstone officially unveil Peninsula's memory garden at Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast.

Matthew Wylie from Peninsula Care Services, edible gardener and author Jilly Dougan, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell and manager of Clifton Nursing Home Stuart Johnstone officially unveil Peninsula's memory garden at Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast.

Matthew Wylie from Peninsula Care Services, edible gardener and author Jilly Dougan, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell and manager of Clifton Nursing Home Stuart Johnstone officially unveil Peninsula's memory garden at Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast.

Matthew Wylie from Peninsula Care Services, edible gardener and author Jilly Dougan, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell and manager of Clifton Nursing Home Stuart Johnstone officially unveil Peninsula’s memory garden at Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast.

Multi-award winning Peninsula Care Services, a leading domiciliary care, nursing and recruitment agency, has gifted a memory garden in one of their valued clients’ care homes, Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast.

MD for Peninsula, Jonny Cook, commissioned author of Sow, Grow, Munch and edible gardener Jilly Dougan to design a sensory garden filled with a variety of perennial herbs, an edible garden, lush with rosemary, thyme, fennel, parsley, salad leaves, spring onions, strawberries, rhubarb and a mini orchard as a haven of peace for the elderly people living in Clifton Nursing Home.

The garden was officially unveiled  by The Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell, who praised Peninsula’s initiative and generous gift to the care home.

“Clifton Nursing Home’s memory garden is a very innovative and worth-while initiative and encourages the residents to spend more time in the fresh air, take pride in watching their garden flourish and even taste the fruits of their labour,” said Campbell. “The care home’s chef Brian White made a delicious rhubarb crumble that we all sampled using fresh garden rhubarb. The pride in the residents’ faces was priceless and there were lots of smiles all round.”

Jonny Cook said: “This has been a particularly exciting project for Peninsula as we always endeavour to give something back to our clients. The garden will bring joy for years and will hopefully bring a lot of horticultural therapy and enjoyment to the residents.  Jilly Dougan did a fantastic job and we’re very proud of the beautiful and productive edible garden.”

Jilly Dougan said: “There is a lot of evidence to support the therapeutic qualities and benefits of gardening with older people, especially those living with dementia.   The gentle exercise helps to relieve stress and the sensory garden stimulates a lot of memories as older people may remember growing the herbs and fruit when they were young.  The taste is more vibrant and nutritious too and the herbs will also flower and become a source of nectar for pollinators.”

Stuart Johnstone, manager of Clifton Nursing Home, said: “The transformation of our garden is amazing, thanks to Jonny and his team at Peninsula Care Services.  Residents derive real calm and serenity from having access to such a beautiful garden and the aroma and tastes conjures up a lot of good nostalgic memories. Jilly Dougan did an excellent job and has cleverly designed the garden within the existing raised beds, hence the residents have easy access and they love being out in the fresh air. They particularly love picking the rhubarb and feel that they are helping the chef prepare the evening meals. The garden has given the residents a new lease of life, thanks to the memory garden; an excellent gift from Peninsula.”

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