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The working life of a hospice gardener and blogger

Author: Jim Nicholson
06 October 2017

Jim Nicholson works as a part time seasonal gardener at Wigan and Leigh Hospice, who recently took part in the National Gardens Scheme for the first time following his successful application. Jim also writes a blog about his work, and here he talks about what it involves and what inspires him to write.

I started writing the blog because the gardens are a beautiful space with lots to see. They vary a lot during the year and I wanted to catalogue some of these changes.

I want people who are not at the hospice to be able to see some of what is going on. And whilst gardening - normally on my own when there are not volunteers here - I have a lot of time to think about a wide range of subjects such as volunteering, the hospice movement, wildlife and mental health. I wanted to write about some of my thoughts, because I thought they may be interesting.

Lots of people stop to talk to me and say how nice the gardens are so I think they really appreciate the surroundings.

One lady I got talking to was here for some counselling. Her mum had been in hospital then came into the hospice. She had wanted her mum to be home to die but when she had a look around and saw the gardens she thought they were really nice, and wanted her to be at the hospice instead. It is the best compliment I have had. She was with her children and I think being able to explore the gardens and be outside was good for them.

In the summer a lot of people sit on the patios outside their rooms or on the benches in the gardens. I think it is peaceful and relaxing for them. Those patients who cannot leave their rooms like the bird feeders so they can look out from their beds and see the birds.

I applied for the National Gardens Scheme because I thought it was a shame that there were not more people seeing them.

I think in the past some parts were overgrown so I have cut shrubs back and now people can see more things, such as a pond or the Chinese Bridge, and I wanted them to go off and explore. I hope by opening the gardens up in this way more people will come to the hospice and see that there is a lot more to it than they might think.

For me, writing my blog has made me more observant – I look out for beautiful flowers or colours. It has made me want to engage more with people around me, and I have a record of my achievements.

I hope that people enjoy reading about the hospice gardens and seeing the photos. Perhaps it will encourage them to garden a bit more and hopefully they will be more engaged with the hospice.

For more information visit Wigan and Leigh Hospice

To read Jim’s blog visit The Hospice Gardener

See more articles in People and places

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