Avery in Bloom
It is well known that being outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight, among plants and trees, is hugely beneficial. On a summer’s day, a beautiful English country garden is a special place to be, with a lush, green lawn surrounded by borders filled with highly scented roses, abuzz with bees and butterflies and a haven for small birds.
The English garden is one of the most established institutions, and half of the adult population in England report being involved in gardening, so it is an important activity throughout our lives, reaching a peak just after retirement. The mental health benefits, too, are wide and diverse. Studies have shown a significant reduction in depression, anxiety, and improved socialisation. Surveys suggest that, as we get older, gardens become much more important for our personal identity, independence and reducing loneliness.
There is even emerging evidence that gardening may also be important in falls and dementia prevention, with examples such as Horatio’s Garden certainly known to support recovery from illness. Some residents at Avery care homes are involved in the planting and growing herbs, which our chefs then use in their cooking at the homes – a real “grow to plate” story where they can enjoy the fruits (no pun intended!) of their efforts. It takes the skill of the very best garden designer to create or develop a setting that achieves that perfect extension from the house into the garden, and Avery works very closely with landscape gardeners to produce beautiful yet practical outdoor spaces specifically beneficial for older people.
Avery plans specific features in its gardens that combine personal patios or garden benches in quiet, reflective areas, alongside wider social spaces such as larger patios with doors opening out from restaurants, lounges, and cafes, to encourage residents to eat and socialise together. Winding garden paths around the properties offer a relaxing way to take some gentle exercise, while potting sheds and raised beds offer residents the opportunity of planting bulbs, flowers, and herbs without having to crouch down to the floor. We even use mobile
flower beds and trugs to locate them outside the bedroom windows of residents who cannot always get outside or use them in smaller garden spaces.
Each Avery home has careful planning of its landscape at early stages. We aim to maintain existing trees and mature hedgerows and, where possible, opting for southerly aspects to extend the time that residents can sit outside whilst making sure we provide attractive shelter from the midday sun. Planting is diligently considered – pear and cherry trees with their cheering early blossom extend colour throughout the seasons. Fragrant plants such as roses and lavender textured maples and alliums and gently moving grasses create enjoyment through their stimulation of the senses.