BBC Lifeline Carly 10
Thriving with Carly

My name is Carly and I am a client gardener at Thrive, the gardening charity that support lots of people with disabilities or ill-health. This is my blog, 'Thriving with Carly’, and I will be talking about gardening, my work at Thrive and about the adventures we have there. I attend one of the gardening programmes each week and it’s one of my favourite places. You can read my bio here.

Thriving with Carly

December 2023

Hi Everyone,

It is Thriving with Carly. Well, it is the end of the year and this month I have put lots of barrow loads of bark on the path down to the allotment field so that it is not slippery with all the rain we have had! I went to The Vyne National Trust, and we got to look around the house and spot the Nutcrackers. We also went for a walk around the lake. We have had a naughty elf visiting us, he was hiding in a snowman made of toilet roll today.

This is the joke that accompanied him: What did one snowman say to the other?

Answer: Do you smell carrots! ⛄ 😆

Happy Christmas everyone!

Carly 🎄🎅

August 2023

Hello Everyone, it has been a long time! Over the last few months we have had our open gardens as well as our client flower show in July. It went really well and we had lots of visitors.

Recently, I have been laying bark chipping, I put it on the path in the orchard to make it easier to pick the fruit. At Thrive Reading we are getting a new compost area in the field. Some overhanging branches from the nearby trees were in the way of this area, so I had to saw them off. I have also been turning a lot of compost, it is very hard work. One week we had a lot of rain, so I started making a bird box for the blue tits.

Well that is all until next time.

Carly 🌺

April 2023

Hi Everyone, here is my latest blog. We have been given a new reel for one of our hosepipes because the old one was broken. I helped to put it together as it came flat packed! As the weather is warming up, we are busy planting things for our plots. I got some garden compost for one of my friends and moved her dahlias from storage to the glasshouse for her. I put up giant Easter eggs made from pallets for Easter and then took them down after Easter. I also did some woodwork, we made a new divider for the pot store to separate out the different size pots, that was fun to make. I have also moved compost. Well until next time.

January 2023

Well, it's a brand new year and this month, January, I have sieved garden compost for everyone to use in the garden. I have also worked in the car park, I put bark down on the path so that my friends at Thrive don't slip when getting on or off the minibus. Also in the car park, I helped the team by using long loppers to trim the top of the hedge, we then took the branches to the field to burn later. The other job I have done, is work in the field, I had to dig the topsoil, put it in a wheelbarrow and then empty it on the grass at the edge of the orchard to level it. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it. Until next time.

August 2022

Hi everyone it been hot hot hot this summer and in august I been working on my plot. I harvested cucumber and my potatoes 🥔 nearly ready to harvest. I have also done dead heading of my flowers 🌸. And a big project, I helped to start making a dead hedge in the woods, to mark out a path. Till next time

June 2022

Hi Everyone, well this month at Thrive I have done lawn mowing in our allotment field and put bark chips under the trees by our entrance where we are creating a new bed. I also worked on our old burning pile by sieving the soil at the base of it and using it to level the ground around our burning circle where we have bonfires. We are also getting ready for the Queens Jubilee that I will tell you all about next month. I hope you enjoy reading it, till next month, bye.

April 2022

Hi Everyone,

This month I have been sieving compost into the big sieve. We are hoping to build a new compost area and are using up our old compost in the garden first. We have also finally been able to have a bonfire to get rid of wood, branches and weeds that can’t go in the compost. I put the dry bits into a wheelbarrow and the staff put it on the bonfire. Any green bits we left so that it can dry and we can put on the bonfire another time.

Also in the garden we have found some pheasant eggs. We have cordoned that area of the garden off so that hopefully they will hatch.

Thanks for reading.

September 2020

Friday 4th September was my first day back at Thrive since March. It has been nearly 6 months! It felt so good to be back. One of the first things my group and I did was take a look around the gardens, we noticed how much our lovely volunteers for the local village had done to help us and keep the gardens going whilst we couldn’t be there. They did a fantastic job, and I personally would like to thank them.

I worked on my plot which was full of weeds! And taking out the leftover tomatoes. Once I’d done that, I helped the rest of the group by tidying up the cabbage bed, ready for us to plant the new ones, which we then watered.

I was pleased to come back and be able to pick up my favourite job of all time – mowing the lawn! Although I had to be very careful, I found four frogs on the grass whilst mowing, so I gently put them somewhere safe.

November 2019

Well, in November it was very cold with lots of rain. But at Thrive we still got a lot of work done in the garden. I pressure-washed in the herb garden and the paths around the client plots as they were very slippery.

As Christmas is coming up we made Father Christmas boots. We used bottles, cut them in half and put them on white card. We used white tissue paper for the paper-mache. Once they were dry we painted them. I did mine red. And once the paint was dry I put white cotton wool on top and put some on the boot.

I also dug in the herb bed taking everything out. It was hard work but good fun.

At Thrive when we eat our crisps will put the packets in a recycling box and send them off. We don't need any more we get enough of our own!

Remember keep gardening!

October 2019

What a lot of rain we have had this month!

I have been out working in the fields over the last couple of weeks; forking it and putting grass seed down, we covered it up and had to used bricks to keep the material down because of the wind.

I made a Christmas boot with a plastic bottle and covered it in Paper Mache. I also worked alongside one of the volunteers at Thrive and carried out some maintenance duties, we checked the fire alarms, put up some new boards in the office for the staff, changed a couple of light bulbs and fixed the blinds in the kitchen.

I’ve had a very busy October.

September 2019

Well this month at Thrive has been busy. I did composting, as composting is one of my favourite jobs at Thrive.

I normally work in the compost bays by the plots, and each bay has removeable sections with letters on from “a” to “e”. Well this time I worked in the compost in the field and the bays there are numbered one to four.

When I worked there, the first thing I had to do was weed bay three as it had a lot of weeds in it. I then had to turn bay one into bay two. It was a lot of work. But I enjoyed it.

I also did mowing in the field. We also had our last open day in September that went well. Enjoy October!

August 2019

Hello everyone,

August was another busy for me at Thrive.

I spent my time fixing things around the gardens, mowing the lawns which were very long! And doing some work on my plot. We had quite a few hot days in August, and on those hot days me and my group made fruit smoothies. We could choose the fruit we wanted to use, mine was a mango, pineapple and strawberry smoothie. It really cooled me down.

We have our last Open Gardens at Reading for the year on Thursday 26 September from 2pm til 4pm. If you would like to see our gardens and the wonderful work we do, please come along.

July 3rd 2019

Last month was a very busy month for me at Thrive. We appeared on the BBC One Lifeline programme. I was on there too, talking about my time at Thrive and how I have benefited from being here. If you haven’t yet seen it, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer.

I done lots of jobs around the gardens, composting, and bark-chipping with a corporate group, but my favourite job of all time was being able to jet wash the patios. Which I love doing!

We have a flower show coming up in July, and so we have all been very busy planning for the day.

Happy July.

June 6th 2019

This month at Thrive I have been very busy digging over beds for new veg and herbs to go in. I have been working with a volunteer this month, putting my hand to some maintenance work, and I mowed the lawns, including our secret garden and car park!

Now that the weather has improved a little, me and my group went for a walk across the fields. We saw some bluebells, which were fantastic.

Every year Thrive hold a flower show in July, so we are all busy planning the day.

Happy June everyone!

May 1st 2019

Well after all the rain we received last month our gardens were overgrown. Now the weather is nice again, I have mowed the lawn and jet washed. It was hard work, but I really enjoyed it. On Tuesday 16 April we held our first open gardens at Trunkwell, Reading. It was a great success and a lovely day. With Easter falling in April this year, my Thursday group made Easter eggs out of rice chips and placed them in egg cup holders. To finish the day off we had an egg and spoon race. We had great fun!

April 8th 2019

Hi folks. Well last month I seeded grass with new seed so it can grow which means I could then cut it with the lawnmower. I also worked in the wildlife garden digging up weeds. I have my own plot at Thrive, and so I chitted some potatoes. I sieved and turned the compost so it is all fresh for the garden.

I helped our head therapist Jan complete a garden tour to give an update to our office staff about what we do in the gardens. Now the Summer is coming I sanded and painted a bench for the garden and helped out one of our volunteers with some maintenance work.

For Mother’s Day I made my Mum a beautiful card.

Happy April!

February 28th 2019 - Snow day!

We had lots of snow at the beginning of February and lots of places including schools were closed but not Thrive. We made apple and blackberry crumble which was very nice. We also went for a walk around the gardens and took some photos of the snow. We even made a snowman. We had a fun snow day!

The weather has now changed, and I have been working in the wild life area digging out roots and composting.

January 28th 2019

Hello and a happy New Year!

At the beginning of the year we go through the code of conduct and manual handling; we do it every year.

I have also done some maintenance work with a volunteer, going around the site and fixing things.

We got a new sieve for making our compost and I was the first to use it! It makes the compost really fine which is good.

I am also doing a woodwork project, making striking boards for when we do potting on and seed sowing. First I sand the board, and then for the handle I saw wood from an old broom. I am also clearing a wildlife area. I put brambles into a wheelbarrow and take it to the burning pile. Enjoy 2019!

December 10th 2018 - my Christmas blog

Hello everyone, at Thrive we have been getting into the Christmas spirit. I made a Christmas elf out of wood. I sawed it and painted it green with a bit of red. I also made a reindeer for someone.

In my group we made Christmas decorations using old bread! We cut out Christmas shapes and then we left them to dry for a week. After this we put glue on them and sprinkled glitter on them. I got covered in glitter!

We are all looking forward to our Thrive Christmas party, and to Christmas! Happy Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year!

October 30th 2018 - Christmas is coming!

This month at Thrive we have been busy making things for Christmas, and yes, I know we've got 2 months to go, but Christmas Fairs are already being organised, so we are getting prepared. At my Thursday group we made reindeers out of wood; we sawed them, stood them up then painted them. Once they were dry we put blue eyes and red noses on them.

During my Friday group we made wooden snowman. Sawing them and then painting them white with 2 coats of paint. After putting on the nose and mouth, I put on pink buttons for a coat and a hat on the side of his head. I’ve just about had time to do some of my favourite jobs - bark chipping. And some good news for Thrive – we have got a new silver coloured minibus through some very generous donations, it looks very posh.

We have also got a new apple press, bought from a donation made by the Morrison Foundation, and we have been making our own juice from the apples in the orchard. I have learnt that you need to cut the apples into pieces, but you can also use the apple cores too, so there’s no waste. Home-made apple juice is very nice!

September 27th 2018 - Working and partying!

September has been very busy for me at Thrive. This month my Friday group created the word 'Thrive’ out of wood. We sanded it down and put a white undercoat on it, before painting it red. This was in preparation for Thrive’s 40th birthday in January next year.

On Thursday the following week, my group visited The Vyne in Basingstoke. It’s a National Trust garden. It’s so lovely there, you can walk around the woods. The part I visited was called the walled garden. It was here that I dug out cabbages. They were very big! And potatoes.

After lunch I got some compost and put it on one of the beds. At times the flower or veg beds need more compost.

On Thursday 13 September I was invited to Thrive’s Ambassadors' tea party, which was held in Anna’s garden - one of our ambassadors.

It was really fun, and I enjoyed it. A few of the others talked about what it means to be an ambassador. I also did a question and answer session with Thrive’s head therapist Jan Broady. We both did very well.

David Domoney did a talk too and I learnt that people’s favourite flower is the Sweet Pea.

Later, we had a tour around the garden. It is the oldest house in Swallowfield. I had a great afternoon.

August 31st 2018 - Buzzing about compost and bees

I’ve been doing one of my favourite jobs - composting.

We have five composting bays. I turn it over and then transfer to each bay when it moves on to the next stage.

It takes about three months to turn our garden and kitchen waste into compost. And here’s a tip for you, make sure you take out things that shouldn’t be composted, like sticks, stones and bags – they don’t like being composted!

On Thursday 15th August it was a very wet day, so my group did some cooking in our new kitchen at Thrive. We made homemade pesto pasta. Everyone enjoyed it.

The afternoon was drier, so I got to work outside on my plot. I’ve also been working on our bee border; taking out plants that have finished this year and then putting in new ones.

The bee border has lots of plants that are rich in nectar, which the bees love! We need to encourage bees into our gardens and green spaces so I’m very happy to look after our bee borders. There are lots of bee friendly plants out there that you can find in garden centres.

I’d like to say goodbye and good luck to my friend who is leaving Thrive at the end of August. He is going to do a kitchen and cooking course at a boarding college. I hope one day he comes back to see us.

July 31st 2018 - A fantastic flower show

On Thursday 12th of July we had the annual Thrive Flower Show at Beech Hill in Reading. What a fantastic day! We had David Domoney and Annabelle Padwick judging the entries. For that I entered a cress pot and I did Peter rabbit. For the group entry we entered our best homemade compost and we came 3rd!

We have lots of open garden days at Beech Hill - Tuesday 31st July, Wednesday 22nd August and Monday 17th September. You can come and see our 3 acres of delightful Victorian walled garden and meet the friendly team at Thrive. There will also be garden tours, plants and produce sale. And also, refreshments and homemade cake (very important!). Entry by donation and all proceeds will go to Thrive.

Hope to see you there!