Tuesday is the day that social media celebrates all things charity and on this particular #charitytuesday, we’re giving a huge shout out to Reminiscence Learning - and the truly awesome designer garden they created at last week’s Taunton Flower Show in Vivary Park.
It was our very first time at the show and whether you’re a Somersetter, or a visitor to our beautiful county, it’s definitely worth going along next year. We were pretty gobsmacked by the variety of things to see, do and get involved with – from the beautiful designer garden displays….
…to the selection of stunning plants to take home for your own garden (just LOOK at this display of carnivorous plants! Move over Little Shop of Horrors! :)).
This next collage of images, taken by Craig Stone, really reflects the beauty on show…
... and there was a fantastic selection of gorgeous local Somerset produce in the Food Hall too (here’s some of Bumblees lovingly made jams, vinegars and oils)…
… along with others that have travelled that little bit further to provide tasty treats for hungry garden lovers, flower enthusiasts and people just having a cracking day out! We developed a bit of a crush on the Travelling Pizzeria (above, bottom right), creating wood-fired pizzas from a vintage Citroen H van called Doris :).
At the main arena, there were heaps of activities to entertain family and friends and what can we say about the unmissable 'Competition Tent'? The array of prizewinning ‘grow your own’ veg had us standing in awe and pretty much squealing at the heaviest marrow!! (See top right... I know!!)
And look at those massive leeks!! ;) Anyway, moving swiftly on…
Reminiscence Learning created THIS stunning garden with a difference… a bright, bold and beautiful dementia friendly garden:
After walking past the other lovely designer gardens and arriving at this pure burst of colour, I’m not ashamed to say my eyes might’ve leaked! :) ‘Archie’s garden’ stood out like a shining beacon and there was so much amazing detail packed in to this small but perfectly formed space. It was deliberately designed that way by the charity, and by gardener Ruth Conley, to encourage conversation between people of all ages - and to help stimulate memories for people with dementia.
And if you’re wondering who Archie is, we have the answer! :)
Archie is the charity mascot – a scarecrow with dementia who features in their uplifting children’s story booklet, written by Fiona Mahoney.
In the story, Archie loses his bright colours when his friends treat him differently. He turns to black and white, but as his friends understand more about dementia and how to improve Archie’s quality of life, he becomes colourful again.
With illustrations by Peter Holmes, the booklet highlights how we can make sure people with dementia never become invisible and Reminiscence Learning does amazing work in schools across Somerset, using the book to encourage learning and dispell the fear of dementia. They then bring children and people with dementia together, to connect communities and make a genuine difference.
This kind of difference could be seen in every beautiful detail in Archie’s Garden. As well as showcasing the dementia friendly multi-sensory activities that some care homes have in their own gardens, many of the plants were red and yellow (the last colours to go in the aging eye) and we loved the handmade flowers, featuring pictures of the Somerset communities Reminiscence Learning helps.
Some of the flowers on display were planted up beforehand in local care homes and the garden included so many activities that younger and older people can do together – whether that’s potting seeds, picking fruit and vegetables, smelling fresh herbs, sharing the grown food or simply talking about flowers that might trigger memories.
We also fell a little bit in love with these bright, hand-painted stones by Elanor Hollands. They were popped in the top of various plant pots as a colourful surprise!
There were some personal details that made us smile too! We love anything that has the creative personal touch and Emma Green, Manager at Reminiscence Learning, is pretty well-known for her fancy dress yellow duck costume which she gets out for various charity events! :) So... this little duck was obviously right at home in Archie's garden!
Around 1,000 people visited this amazing space over the two, packed Flower Show days. Visitors included groups from Calway House, Camelot and other local care homes - and the garden won a silver medal from the Flower Show judges!
We really just wanted to say a very special congratulations to the team and their amazing volunteers who worked so hard to prepare this uplifting dementia friendly haven. Simply put, it really flipping inspired us and definitely got the Somerset cool Gold! :)
Happy #charitytuesday everyone!
P.S. The plants in the garden that weren’t borrowed are now back in Reminiscence HQ in Wellington, so that anyone attending the sessions the charity runs there can enjoy them.