A sense of inspiration

Bloomers Gardening Club from Northumberland County Blind Association visiting the Turner Garden in Carlisle Park. Emma Evans describes the garden's features.
Bloomers Gardening Club from Northumberland County Blind Association visiting the Turner Garden in Carlisle Park. Emma Evans describes the garden's features.

A GREEN-FINGERED community group branched out from its own plot to take in the sights and smells of Carlisle Park.

Members of Northumberland County Blind Association’s Bloomers group meet every month to tend to the charity’s sensory garden at its base in Staithes Lane, Morpeth.

The members, carers and volunteers also discuss how they can improve the patch and enhance the area.

So they were delighted when the Friends of Carlisle Park and Green Spaces Officer Emma Evans invited them to take a guided tour of the Morpeth park for inspiration.

And of course, first stop was the park’s William Turner Garden, which is the model for the association’s own plot.

The garden is a tribute to ‘the Father of English Botany’, who was born in Morpeth in 1508. It contains medicinal plants and herbs that Turner would have prescribed, species that were first brought to England in the 16th century and a formal design that was popular at the time.

Bloomers volunteer Tom Ridley said: “Our gardening group meets on the third Friday of the month for a meeting and discussion, or we sometimes visit places.

“We were kindly invited to go for a tour of the park and the Turner Garden, on which our own garden is based. We all enjoyed it and we were invited by one of the volunteers who lives near the park to go back to his house afterwards for coffee and cakes. It was a very nice day out.”

He added: “Our sensory garden was wrecked completely after the flood of 2008 so we are just getting it back in order now. Apart from one, our members are all partially-sighted so they can see certain things and do some of the work in the garden, such as sowing seeds, which is a real encouragement for them and very relaxing as well.”

The group’s next planned outing is to Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden – its furthest trip yet.

But members also have work to do closer to home after setting up a vegetable patch at the association’s Reiver House plot. They will also be growing herbs at home to transfer to the garden later in the year.

The group had been in jeopardy last year, but was able to continue thanks to support from Morpeth Lions Club and Morpeth Rotary Club.