Celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock hosted a special workshop at West Hall, Anchor’s flagship luxury care home in West Byfleet, Surrey, today. Anchor invited Charlie to run the weekly gardening club and to lead residents in planting fragrant herbs and plants to enhance the care home’s popular sensory garden.

The star of BBC’s Ground Force helped the residents of West Hall to appreciate that gardening is not just a hobby which helps one to stay active in older age but is also regularly shown to help maintain good mental health. Gardening is an excellent way in which to stimulate the senses and enjoy time in the great outdoors. The Gardening Club at West Hall, with guidance from Charlie, planted lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme and mint, all chosen for their evocative fragrance,  in a raised outdoor flower bed, designed specifically for those with reduced mobility.

After joining Ground Force in 1997, Charlie has gone on to present programmes such as The Joy of Gardening and Charlie’s Garden Army. She has also published a number of gardening books.

West Hall is a state-of-the-art care home, with luxury facilities including a library, hair salon, bistro and croquet lawn, catering for people who want to live independently as well as offering unparalleled care support. There is an innovative care model in place empowering residents to control the choices that impact their everyday lives and specialist facilities and design features are included for those living with dementia.

Charlie Dimmock comments: “Gardening has been shown to significantly help to maintain mental health and to promote relaxation and a peaceful state of mind. Although some elderly gardeners are put off by the work that may be involved in gardening.  I am delighted to see that West Hall offers raised flower beds to allow residents to continue to enjoy gardening. I have been really impressed by the enthusiasm of the gardening club and I hope the sensory garden will become a popular place for residents to relax.”

Lucy Brown, Wellness Manager at West Hall, comments: “We find that the gardening club sessions at West Hall help both residents and staff to relax and the familiar movements of digging and weeding, as well as the evocative scents of lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme and mint, are particularly beneficial to the wellbeing of our residents who live with dementia, helping to evoke past interests and pleasures. Charlie’s visit has inspired our gardening club to continue to develop the gardens at West Hall into spaces which can be enjoyed by all residents.”

Find out more about West Hall by visiting our West Hall website.

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