The Wildlife Garden Support Group focuses on supporting the wildlife pond and garden that were created behind the surgery when it was built. The group has the specific purpose of finding ways in which the garden can be used to support patients.
Basic garden maintenance is undertaken by the surgeries gardening contractor. The group together with the help of the ecologist who set up the garden provide direction to ensure the best outcomes for promoting the unique nature of the garden.
The pond has been provided to encourage the protection of great created newts and the group help guide the protection of the newts in the pond and when they hibernate in the hibernaculum (a massive pile of stones covered with grass and brambles). We also guide the development of the garden to attract as much native wildlife as possible.
We are planning our first venture into gardening by undertaking a selective cut-back of plants growing in the pond. The ecologist has told us which plants are good news and pointed out others that need to go. It is too complex to give to the gardening contractor to do.
The garden has been used by local cub scouts who have built a bug hotel. Other groups are welcomed to use it and access can be arranged via the surgery.
We have started to build a library of photographs of the garden at different times of the year.
There was an event in September 2018 with speakers so that patients could learn about the ecological aims of the garden and about making their own gardens more suitable for wildlife. There was also a speaker from Kent Wildlife Rescue who brought along some rescued wild animals. The group was also presented with a Silver Award Certificate for the Kent Wildlife Trust Wild about Gardens Awards Scheme 2018. We also learned about the Headcorn Gardeners’ Society. The event finished with guided visits to the garden.
Hopefully, we encouraged some patients to do more in their own gardens – healthy exercise and great for mental well-being. Success will come if this does not also lead to broken bones!
If you would like to join the group please either contact Marion Weatherhead at firstname.lastname@example.org or just come to the next meeting.