In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.
The Society for Horticultural Therapy is an organisation generally known as Thrive, and David Coton recently learnt more about their projects, training and consultancy.
Thrive uses horticulture to change the lives of people who live with disability or ill health, or who are vulnerable, isolated or disadvantaged in some way.
Social and therapeutic gardening tackles thinking and communication skills in a secure and safe environment and aims to improve clients' physical and psychological health to make them more independent and self-reliant.
Gardens offer the kind of peace and tranquillity that is vital for rehabilitation and recovery, and each gardener has a set of activities that lead to the achievement of specific goals identified by themselves, support workers or carers.
Two excellent examples of the breadth of Thrive's project work are a programme for veterans funded by the British Legion helping them to deal with life after the services and another that helps stroke survivors with improved physical and neural health that, amongst many other benefits, results in a reduction in medication.
Every year Thrive offers extensive programmes for training in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture. These are aimed at teachers, health and social care professionals, volunteers and those looking for a change in career.
Course subjects include using social and therapeutic horticulture to benefit people with mental health support needs, setting up a project, and understanding disability in garden design.
You'll find a number of products on GardenSite that emphasize accessibility and Forest, one our major suppliers, has worked with Thrive to develop specially designed timber products for gardeners who need assistance.
Their products appeal to people with a variety of challenges who need to sit, kneel or stand to garden, so that they can achieve a level of independence.
Part of the profit from this range is donated to Thrive who will spend the money on their activities that also include training bursaries, undergraduate courses, workshops and conferencing.
Read more information on Thrive.
In order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our wildlife, there's a selection of habitats and boxes you can purchase that are specifically designed to attract various small animals and insects to your garden. Here we look at some of the products available which also make unusual and very engaging gifts.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.