We work closely with our gardening team and support them with lots of exciting projects. They are great advocates of our charity and work incredibly hard on Airedale’s grounds and gardens. We wanted to use grounds week as an opportunity to shout about their hard work.
Steve, Airedale’s head gardener, kindly took some time to answer some questions, so keep reading to find out more about our gardening team, their projects, and Steve’s top gardening tips.
1.What is your job role?
I’m the head gardener, responsible for the grounds and gardens.
I organise work schedules, plan and implement projects, sweep the site, change litter bins, maintain flower beds and lawns, install and clean signage, clean up bodily fluids, clean smoke shelters. Anything else required that is outdoors like repairing potholes and rebuilding walls.
2. How did you get into your role?
I started as a gardener 17 years ago and when the opportunity presented I was promoted to Head gardener. I’ve done gardening since I was around 9 years old.
3.What has been your favourite project to work on and why?
Most of them have been amazing but especially the dementia friendly garden and the Sunbeam garden (in memory of lost babies) because they are such important topics and very close to my heart. Most recently was the creation of the woodland, it’s been such an inspiring project and incredibly satisfying to create something so close to nature in the middle of a hospital!
4.What have you learnt since working at Airedale?
I’ve learnt so much, I’ve been lucky enough to attend seminars across the country about healthcare and sustainability, developed my knowledge through training and qualifications and more than anything learnt from so many different people and professions about how important our hospital is and what an incredible amount of work and planning goes into keeping it running for our patients.
5.What do you like about working at Airedale?
Every day is different, you meet many people out in the grounds from all different walks of life, people sit and tell you their stories whilst you work and you often share both happy times and sad times. We are usually the first people visitors encounter and it’s a privilege to be able to help guide them and reassure them in difficult and stressful times.
6.What are some easy ways for people to get into gardening?
I would say join a community group or volunteer for an organisation like us. Help a friend or family member with their garden if you don’t have one, I learned a lot about gardening from my Grandma. Maybe grow a few plants at home, some seeds like Pansies and Marigolds are very cheap and easy to grow. I started off working in a rose growing nursery at the age of 10 and with my wages I bought materials and created miniature gardens in plastic trays.
7.What are your top gardening tips?
Don’t be afraid to try, plants are very much like us! They need food, water and sunlight and above all else a little care and attention! For the more confident gardener, make sure your soil condition is right for the type of plants you have. Soil is one of the most important aspects of healthy gardens.