The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Let's talk up the 'Natural' Health Service - Kate Davies, Clerical Officer

26 April 2021

This National Gardening Week (26 April - 2 May) we are hearing from members of staff at LTHT how a dose of 'Vitamin G' has helped reduce stress and improve personal wellbeing during difficult times. Today we are hearing from Kate Davies, Clerical Officer at Wharfedale Hospital.

Kate: I’ve always loved gardening but I’m no Alan Titchmarsh, it’s purely recreational and experimental for me. My Grandparents always used to grow things and I think my love of it stemmed from picking beans with them. Unfortunately, my little girl is allergic to beans so I can’t grow them but will be growing peas again this year.

Kate Davies, Clerical Officer at Wharfedale Hospital and keen gardenerMy dad says I have “green fingers” but I think I’ve just been lucky. I’ve got a garden with different areas –  wild flower area, raised beds, pots and planters. I did have a greenhouse last year but I’ve lent it to my mother-in-law this year as we have just got a puppy. My last puppy ate all my pepper plants! I’m the sort of gardener who reads up on things but then plants things and hopes for the best. If something starts to go wrong then I will Google the best remedies.

We recently moved house – this house has a much larger, more “wild” garden that backs onto fields so it takes a lot more effort to keep it nice and there’s a lot more things to consider and contend with, e.g.: hedges, animals, bugs, brambles, birds. One of the benefits of this garden though is there’s space to grow veggies. I’ve definitely grown more veg last year and had to find new ways to protect veg from bugs etc.

I just love being outside, it clears my head and relaxes me. The kids get involved in every aspect so it’s really lovely. Everything tastes so much better when you know how much effort and love has gone into it.

Harlow Carr is just a glorious place to spend time – so many different areas to explore and enjoy and it was lovey getting to speak to the knowledgeable gardeners, Joe and Susan, about lots of aspects of gardening during our visit last week. The thing I will take away most from the morning is the arrangement and use of raised vegetable beds. The recycled plastic raised beds are of real interest to me. I really want to have more raised bedding at home. I’m now going to look into this alternative to wood as its longer lasting and helps the environment by reusing waste. Also, the natural supports made from willow I learnt about at Harlow Carr are a brilliant alternative to shop-bought canes etc. Little ideas really cut costs and will be more practical for my garden. I’m going to look at volunteering there in the future!