The Gift of the Garden
Jackie enjoys the benefits a sensory garden brings to the people of Ysbyty'r Tri Chwm.
"In 2001, my husband Paddy was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He was 55 years of age. It was devastating news for me and the family, and it took along time for us to come to terms with it.
This was when I first came to know of Ysbyty'r Tri Chwm in Ebbw Vale. Paddy attended Oak Parc - their daycare facility twice a week. This was a great help to him, as it kept his mind stimulated, and he could get involved with everything going on, such as painting, exercise, music and gardening.
As Paddy deteriorated, he moved into Cedar Parc, the residential part of Ysbyty'r Tri Chwm. The Sensory Garden had already been established by volunteers and carers, which was enormously helpful to the patients. It has many different features, including different coloured plants, raised beds, water feature, different fragrances and seating areas.
Paddy used to look forward to his daily walks around the garden. It was during this time that we started to raise funds for the two other gardens in the hospital. Before we could start creating the gardens, we had to clear them. I helped get rid of the deep-rooted bushes - that was hard work. Then there was fundraising to be done, raffles, Chinese auctions, bingo nights, marathon sponsors, collection buckets in the supermarket, make-up party, boot sales; you name it, we've done it!
And now our sensory garden is finished, and it's full steam ahead on the final garden, where patients will be able to enjoy the flowers with their different colours and smells. The wildlife that will hopefully be attracted by the garden, and the peace and tranquillity it will give them.
Paddy passed away a few months ago, but I want to be able to give back for the help and support I received over the years, by supporting the hospital and other carers in any way that I can. So there'll be a few more bingo nights to come."