We headed over the Life at No.27 adult therapy allotment in Northamptonshire recently, which uses the power of gardening to support people struggling with mental ill health, to plant a Garden on A Roll Sensory Border in one of the site’s communal growing areas.
We’ve been aware of Life at No.27 for a number of years and have followed its journey from a garden blog documenting its founder Annabelle Padwick’s personal experience of starting an allotment and how it benefited her mental health and transformed her life, to putting her findings into action to help others by creating a garden with the sole purpose of using gardening to improve the health and wellbeing of others. Keen to find out more we packed up a van with plants from our Sensory Border design and headed north to Towcester, Northants.
The allotment site itself features a series of eight plots, which have been assigned to individuals that have either been referred via the local NHS or requested one directly. There are also an additional 8 communal beds for growing fruit, wild flowers and vegetables to share or sell to local cafes. The entire organisation, which also delivers school programmes is run on donations alone.
Annabelle told us how the site provides a safe, inspiring and nurturing environment to meet the needs of people who could benefit from alternative therapy options, empowering them through a variety of practical, outdoor and creative activities that not only teach valuable and transferable skills but also have a meaningful and therapeutic value.
The plot holders that currently use the site focus on growing edibles in their own dedicated areas, and the idea of the Sensory Border is to create a beautiful bed that can be tended to communally, attracts bees and butterflies and provides colour and fragrance all year round.
We included a mixture of herbs including lavender, chives, fennel, sage, parsley and rosemary with vibrant perennials including buddleja, gaillardia and santolina - all specially selected for fragrance, texture and wildlife appeal! We used our biodegradable templates for the planting, ensuring that the plants are spaced out perfectly allowing more space for those plants that need it.
Watch our video to see the therapy site and to find out more.