Visit to therapy garden will prove a real tonic
By Lyndsay Oxley - Reporter
VISITORS are being invited to experience the tranquil beauty of a garden in Killerby this weekend.
The grounds of Woodside are being opened to the public for the day as part of the National Open Garden Scheme, which raises money for charity. Visitors will be welcomed to the two-acre site on Saturday, August 4, from 1pm until 6pm.
The garden features a prairie bed, rose garden, woodland beds, more than 100 trees, a wildlife pond and vegetable and flower beds.
A saxophonist will also be playing in the grounds on the day and there will be a cake and plant sale too. There is wheelchair access to most of the garden.
Owners Dr Satinder Sanghera and her husband, Mike, transformed the open space into a horticultural haven to help adults improve their health. A former GP of 25 years and keen gardener, Dr Sanghera had to take early retirement due to ill health three years ago.
Having spotted gaps in provision for people with mental and physical disabilities, she decided to set up Serenity Social and Therapeutic Horticulture, a registered charity which offers gardening therapy sessions for adults with disabilities.
Dr Sanghera, 52, said: “There are people who started in wheelchairs and they would sit and observe. Now not one of them is in their wheelchair. It has been so transformative.
“When people first arrived they were defined by their conditions but now their personalities are coming out. They are now ditching their labels. Now their conditions are just a nuisance on the side.”
Dr Sanghera knows all too well about the restrictions those living with disabilities can be faced with. Having suffered a stroke at 19, she has since been determined to not let her disability limit her.
She said: “I have done a lot more with my body than ever was expected of me. I know that what humans can do is far more than we are told we can do. I have seen that in practice here. There is no such thing as can’t here.
A small team of volunteers help to run the sessions.
Volunteer Pete Plant said: “It is a wonderful group. It is interesting to see how people have changed over ten weeks.”
Thanks to successful grant applications and donations from businesses, the site is now equipped with a tool store and disabled compost toilet.
The current 12-week course is nearing the end but due to demand Dr Sanghera has agreed to continue the sessions once a week for existing clients. A new programme will be announced in 2019.
She said: “Helping other people feel good about themselves brings more joy than anything you can say. We are all helping each other. I feel really humble and happy.
“Their disability becomes a little devil that sits on their shoulder. It reminds them that they have a value and that is so important.”
Vegetable and flower beds planted by members of the group will be judged by visitors on August 4.
Adult admission costs £5 and children are free.
Anyone interested in being considered for next year’s course can contact Dr Sanghera on 07789 640421.