Bath in Bloom 2024: The Story of The Beehive's Garden Rejuvenation

Bath in Bloom 2024: The Story of The Beehive's Garden Rejuvenation

Jane shows Bath in Bloom judge around the garden

DHI Peer Jane Boss has led something of a gardening revolution at the Beehive. Left untouched and overgrown for years, Jane has revived the space which stands a testament to not only her skill and determination, but also the power of healing and recovery. When something is nurtured in a caring and supported environment, they can be bought back to life and thrive. The garden was entered in Bath in Bloom this year.

Here is the story of DHI's garden revival in Jane's words:

Imagine a jungle with a face peering out at you through the undergrowth…

After COVID and 2 years of isolation, The Beehive garden had become sad and neglected. The raised beds were full of stinging nettles, burdock, weeds and thorns. The roses had become leggy and hungry. Weeds were growing out of the walls and the ground was covered in litter and moss.

But, amongst the neglect, there was hope. The roses were in full bloom. Welsh Poppies were glowing yellow. Herbs such as Lemon Balm, Rosemary and Sage were growing. Hidden away, Hostas, Lillies and Gladioli were there to be rediscovered.

It was a garden of potential, a place waiting to be welcoming, colourful, healing, tactile, restful, contemplative and full of joy. In June 2021, we woke the garden up.

I became involved with the garden in June 2021.

I was a resident of Burlington House having a detox from Alcohol. I started to potter around the garden at Burlington and then gravitated to the Beehive. I had always had a love of gardening and now I found it was crucial to my recovery and mental health, it gave me a purpose and rekindled my love.

Waking up The Beehive Garden was a challenge but what started as a kind of therapy became a passion. I had a vision: The garden had promise, hidden gems, evidence that it had been loved – nurtured.

I approached the staff at the Beehive and drew them a rough outline of my ideas and it was met with enthusiasm and encouragement.

I am now a Peer with DHI and run a gardening group for clients who are interested.

We all contribute to the garden and share our ideas. The work is varied; weeding, pruning, painting, hedge trimming and tidying… the list is endless! It might not be a huge space, but there is always something to do. It is lovely to see the changing seasons and listen to people sing the garden’s praises. It boosts everyone’s spirits.

The Aims of The Beehive Garden

  • To create a communal garden that was pleasing to all the senses
  • To encourage pollinators and birds
  • A place of healing and sanctuary for clients and staff
  • A place of refection, joy and laughter
  • A place to chew the cud
  • A place of growth and hope
  • A place of quiet and calm.

Our Garden Remembers

The garden is also a place of commemoration. The arbour is dedicated to a young man called Jack, who is sadly no longer with us. He was kind; a gentle spirit who loved, and was loved by, everyone. He loved to talk and laugh so the arbour is a place for sharing and for laughter. It is a new addition to the Beehive family and we think that he would love it. Close to the arbour grows the rose called Jack’s Wish.

We also have 2 roses called Little Amy, growing in a wooden planter. These roses are in remembrance of the daughter of one of our Peers; she sadly passed away too young.

As with a journal, there is always room for growth and change and learning. A garden is an adventure; it encourages creativity and colour; it bonds you to nature and its seasons and, like any living thing, the more it is cared for, the greater the rewards.

The joy of the garden is that it gives so many people so much pleasure and can lift the lowest of spirits. And it never hurts to talk to the plants; ask advice and you may be surprised at the wisdom of the answers.

Many thanks to Jane and the team at the Beehive for bringing the garden back to life.

To see some more images of the garden, click here.

To learn more about the The Beehive do, click here.

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