One of the great things about Churchill Retirement Living is that the Owners at every Lodge have different ideas about how their social life should develop and, are able to put them into practice. At Steeple Lodge in Sutton Coldfield, several Owners, along with Resident Lodge Manager, Jackie Fox, have been instrumental in setting up a fortnightly Gardening Club. Meeting every other Friday afternoon, the Club has proven to be very popular and members have enjoyed getting their hands dirty and doing something different.
Margaret Brayshay, one of the co-founders of the Club comments; “My previous home was a lovely cottage with a beautiful garden, but it had started to get too much for me, particularly when I became unwell. I moved into Steeple Lodge just under two years ago and I have no regrets at all as my love of gardening has continued, but is now on a much more manageable scale.” The Club had a spring bulb planting session where all the Owners, their families, children and grandchildren were involved in planting about 500 bulbs in the gardens of the Lodge. Rob Bott, another member of the Club, continues; “We are surrounded by beautiful and well established trees and Churchill Retirement Living had planted lots of shrubs, and we were keen to introduce colour in the way of daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and hyacinths that can return every year."
Jackie Fox adds; “The gardening club is a great success and lots of fun - it was particularly nice to see the young and old working together on the last family planting day and enjoying it so much. We made sure everyone was involved and we provided a lovely spread of sandwiches, cakes and drinks, not only for the workers but for those Owners who were not able to get involved with the physical work. It was such a success that the Gardening Club is planning more events throughout the summer!”
As well as the bulb planting session, members of the Club have been busy planting roses, hyrdrangeas and a variety of climbers along some of the fences to provide additional seasonal colour. More creepers – such as honeysuckle – are also planned to continue the colourful theme. Margaret continues; “The Club is fortunate that one of the male Owners is fit enough to do the digging and hard landscaping and so we were able to create a ‘woodland’ path with bark chippings underneath the mature trees down one side of the Lodge.” And it appears that ideas are in place to plant a herb garden for the Owners to use for their own culinary purposes – “ we are just discussing a suitable plot,” says Margaret. There are also seating areas in the grounds of the Lodge which have been in frequent use over the summer months and where Owners have met up to chat, have a drink or simply admire the developing garden and the Club’s handiwork!
The Steeple Lodge Gardening Club is in its early days, but Resident Lodge Manager, Jackie is hopeful it will continue to flourish – and that more will join in. "Although not everyone chooses to join in the sessions in a direct way, a number of the residents have contributed by recommending plants we might like to grow or by having colourful planters outside their own apartments. It has not only been an excellent opportunity for Owners to reminisce about their own gardens, but it's been great to see them working as a team when planting and designing their own environment."
Steeple Lodge, like all Churchill Retirement Living developments, offers one and two bedroom self-contained apartments set in managed landscaped grounds, with the services of a Lodge Manager and a 24-Careline facility. There is an Owners’ Lounge, Guest Suite, Wellbeing Suite and laundry room, and the Lodge is conveniently close to shops, services and public transport.