Residents of one of the Group's sheltered housing schemes in Gosport have won recent accolades for their gardening skills.
Each year, Swan Court enters the Gosport in Bloom competition, which recognises people in the local area for their efforts in helping make the town look bright and colourful through gardening. The competition gives out gold, silver and bronze awards to participants, as well as certificates of excellence, in categories ranging from best hanging baskets to best front garden.
This year, 63 entries were received from Gosport residents, care and sheltered homes, volunteer and community groups, and local businesses.
Residents of Swan Court are no strangers to gardening success, and display certificates and medals from previous competitions throughout the scheme. The scheme is known for its beautiful outside areas, care of the residents here who have an obvious horticultural talent.
Contractors from the Group take care of the grass and trim large foliage, but the rest is down to the residents who are proud of the standard of their garden.
This year, five Swan Court residents went to the awards ceremony on 28 September and came away with six certificates of excellence for best balcony, best hanging baskets, best front garden, best business, best retirement shelter, and best back garden. They also won a silver medal for the Best Volunteer, Community & Neighbourhood Award.
One of the scheme’s keenest gardeners is Joe, who’s been living at Swan Court for two and a half years.
“I’ve been gardening most of my life, on and off. I find it relaxing and it helps keep you fit. When I started gardening here, I had one spot to deal with and it grew from there; now, around three or four of us do most of the gardening.
This year, Southern Housing Group got us a greenhouse, so I can save some plants we’d otherwise have to throw away at the end of the season, which gets a bit expensive. Now I have a heater to go in there so I’ll be saving some begonias.
The secret to a good garden is hard work, and caring for it. You have to feed it to get something out of it. My favourites are the fuchsias as they give you good reward for what you put in, but I like all plants.”