5 minutes with…Our community gardeners
Meet our community gardeners, India and Lucy, who nurture the award-winning green spaces at our almshouses.
What do you both do and why do you enjoy it?
We are the community gardeners for Hammersmith United Charities’ two sheltered housing schemes (almshouses), John Betts House and Sycamore House.
The gardens are an unexpected highlight at both almshouses. Visitor, residents and staff alike often comment on the beautiful surprise of the gardens as they discover them for the first time.
We manage, maintain and improve the gardens while also providing activities and workshops for residents. A big part of our role is to encourage the residents to use the gardens, and advise and support them with their own plots and pots displays.
At both the almshouses, we love the diversity of personalities, activities and events – and how each day is different from the last. The kindness of the residents to the staff and each other is a daily joy.
How would you describe the gardens?
The gardens provide a space for all residents to enjoy in a variety of ways. Groups of residents meet in the gardens for a chat and a cup of tea, others sit alone and immerse themselves in the sounds and sights of nature, or simply read a paper or have a chat on the phone. Some residents get their daily exercise by doing laps of the gardens, while many residents have their own small plots and pots, getting involved in the practical nature of gardening, planting, watering and weeding.
Currently residents are preparing for spring by planting bulbs in pots and looking forward to the next growing season following the dark and quiet winter months.
How do the residents help you with the gardens?
We work closely with the residents and many of them assist us in maintaining the gardens by watering and weeding, sweeping paths, leaf clearance and dead heading the beautiful roses. We appreciate all the work the residents do and could not maintain these award-winning gardens without them.
What are some important gardening jobs you’ll be doing as we head into the autumn and winter?
Seasonal jobs include leaf clearance and ensuring all pathways are safe, bulb planting and compost turning. We manage all our green waste so that it returns to the gardens for the health of the plants and trees. We are currently preparing areas in both gardens to create wildflower meadows for next summer.
What is your favourite local green space to visit and why?
India has recently introduced Lucy to W6 Garden Centre on the edge of Ravenscourt Park. It is a beautiful oasis of indoor and outdoor plants, garden supplies and has a gorgeous cafe. Many of our residents enjoy it too!
Find out more
- Our award-winning almshouse gardens
- John Betts House and Sycamore House, our two sheltered housing schemes
- Eligibility for our almshouses