Retford Ladies Probus welcomed 62 attendees to their June meeting. The speakers were Alison Doxey and Stephen Welch who won gold at Chelsea in 2016 for their artisan garden. Both turning 50 they decided it was now or never if they were to follow their dream of achieving the highest accolade at this famous event.
Stephen, a chartered landscape architect, had already designed a garden for Les Bourgs Hospice in Guernsey and Alison, an English master florist, believed that nature and plants have a tremendous impact on people’s health. So, it was from this viewpoint that they had a vision of a hospital bed which could be wheeled directly into the garden. They used an old-fashioned bed as the centrepiece, making a mattress of moss, whilst Alison used her floral expertise to create a delicate flowing quilt of flowers.
Initially they were to be self-funded but Asda were so taken up by the idea that they became sponsors. Alison explained that it was the least corporate venture that Asda had ever taken on because it came from the heart. They took Probus members through the tremendous effort and dedication needed to bring a project like this to fruition and the worry of plants being ready on time. The plants they used were readily available and the garden was quite small so people could relate to it.
They were obviously thrilled to win and Alison said she was tongue tied when receiving the award and couldn’t think of anything to say. Their abiding memory, however, is not of the medal but of all those who came to the garden, telling their stories of adversity and how the garden had helped them. The garden has now been transferred to Great Ormond St Hospital.
The club next meets on 13th September at Ordsall Community Centre, Westfield Road at 10.00am for 10.30am, when the talk will be entitled ‘Powder Paint and Corsets’. All are welcome.