What I did on my volunteering day – Mike
22 August 2016, by Mike McLean
I volunteered at the “Share Garden” in Springfield Hospital, Tooting (organised via Benefacto).
It’s a community garden in the grounds of a psychiatric Hospital that primarily exists to provide horticultural therapy and training to patients of the hospital, who have a variety of mental and/or physical disabilities.
The day was relatively simple: it was a garden in the summer, there was lots to be done, and most of it was weeding.
Over the course of the day, I:
- Weeded a square bed of lavender & roses bushes (general small weeds, thistles, and fair amounts of bindweed which absolutely loves wrapping itself around lavender)
- Was commandeered by one of the students/patients to help him clear out a large patch of nettles that ran beside the path to the loo block (they’d started getting big enough that they were occasionally stinging people who wanted the loo). First shearing the nettles down to 3-4 inches, then pulling the remaining stems out and finally digging out whatever amount of the roots we could get at.
- Re-arranged one of the (6!) compost heaps so that new waste didn’t need to be lifted over the barricade of clippings that had be put on the front of it.
- Weeded another square bed of lavender & roses bushes.
- Watered the covered “green house” section of the garden where they grew plants and seedlings to sell. (Maybe 10 m x 20 m of pots).
- Started Weeding a 3rd square bed of lavender & roses bushes.
I had a great time (I managed to hit a continuously sunny day. Score!), and it was really clear that the students got a LOT out of being in the garden, but that some tasks were more viable for them than others. Fine detail weeding being one of the harder tasks for them to achieve.