The secret is out!


Thrive’s Secret Garden has been transformed thanks to the charity bagging a cash boost from Tesco Bags of Help initiative. 

With the £8,000 grant, Thrive has been able to build four new solid brick raised beds topped with wooden sleepers.

Brick raised beds will last a long time, but are usually more expensive to build. The wooden sleepers on top provide much-needed softness in which to sit and lean on.  

Jan Broady, a senior horticultural therapist at Thrive said: "This money from Tesco’s 5p bag scheme has really made a huge difference to our gardeners here at Thrive. 

Filling the new raised beds
"The Secret Garden will be used more than it has been in the past and is a new focus for our gardeners as they can now walk straight out into it from their new facilities in the main building at Thrive. 

"The old wooden sleepers were rotting and collapsing and at too low a height, so this grant came just at the right time for us. 

"We’ve also been able to replace the broken water feature with a new, smaller and calming water feature which offers a clear view point across and into the summer house. 

"Access leading into the Secret Garden from the woodland garden has been greatly improved by installing a concrete ramp and new handrails."

As a charity helping people with a variety of needs, Thrive also has to ensure good maintenance of its garden areas, which can be a challenge.

Deconstructing the old garden
Corporate volunteers spending time with the charity as part of their CSR commitments can make a huge difference and firms helped in the Secret Garden with deconstructing the previous beds and clearing the garden. 

Thrive did not have to buy any extra soil to fill the beds as it used its excellent compost the gardeners had made over the years, along with the soil it already had. 

Jan added: "We’ve tried to maintain the essence and spirit of the garden which was originally designed for people with dementia and young people with special education needs. 

"There is still an active side with the raised beds and vegetable areas, and a passive side with benches to sit on and enjoy the view. 

"The garden design is such that it is still an accessible and uncluttered space whilst also feeling safe and secure. Materials have been carefully considered to avoid confusion, offer contrast and provide interest.

"The beds have already been planted with tulips and spring flowering plants such as wallflowers, violas and pansies."