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Just the thicket – green-fingered Cheltenham care home resident celebrates the outdoors

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A resident at a Cheltenham care home has been leading the home’s outdoor activities to celebrate this year’s virtual Chelsea Flower Show.

Keith, an 85-year-old resident and gardening expert at Care UK’s Sandfields, on St George’s Road, has shared one key piece of advice with the rest of the home’s gardening club – “keep learning and keep at it.”Just the thicket – green-fingered Cheltenham care home resident celebrates the outdoors

The former gardener and groundsman for Cheltenham Borough Council also shared his recommendations for gardening at this time of the year – to plant summer plants, including geraniums, fuchsias, rhododendrons, and to take care of the daffodils by either digging them up to replant or cutting the tops off.

Keith’s love for gardening runs in the family – his grandfather was a gardener for Lady Cheeseman and his father was a planter at an apple and pear orchard. At school, Keith used to grow vegetables, which he’d take to the local nunnery to feed homeless people; later on, as part of his work with the council, he even had coffee with Princess Margaret.

Keith, who struggled to garden on his own at home in his later years, has been able to get back outside and do what he loves again after moving to Sandfields, with the support of the team and the rest of the gardening club. So far, he has helped with weeding, planting, pruning and making the plants sustainable – and he’s hoping to add annual plants to the home’s garden very soon.

Keith said: “I’m over the moon to be back out in the garden – I think gardening is very important, as the flowers keep the air clean.”

Home Manager at Sandfields, Malaika Charles, said: “Gardening truly is a family affair for Keith – he inherited his passion for plants from his father and grandfather, and we’ve all learnt a lot about gardening since he moved to Sandfields.

“Keith is incredibly passionate when he talks about his gardening work with the Cheltenham Borough Council, so we’re thrilled we were able to support him to go back out in the garden and do the things he loves the most – from planting beautiful flowers to rearranging the home’s garden.

“Everyone enjoyed celebrating National Gardening Week, especially with Keith’s guidance – and we’re all excited for the virtual Chelsea Flower Show. Gardening has many therapeutic benefits for older people, especially those living with dementia, encouraging physical activity and also time spent outdoors, which can help to lower stress and anxiety levels. We are looking forward to seeing our plants begin to blossom and brighten up the garden in the coming months.”

Sandfields is a state-of-the-art care home which provides full-time residential, dementia, nursing and short-term respite care. The home, which features 90 en-suite bedrooms, has been designed to enable its residents to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence. The care home incorporates space for hobby and leisure activities and includes its own cinema, bar, hairdressing salon and café.

For more information on Sandfields, please contact Laura Sayburn, Customer Relations Manager, by emailing: or calling 01242 801 867.

For more general information, please visit

Open to new residents

St George’s Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3EL


CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club

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