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Floral wonder at BaptistCare Carey Gardens

Carey Gardens decided to create their very own Floriade with the annual delight cancelled due to COVID-19

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When Floriade was cancelled in Canberra this year due to restrictions from COVID-19, BaptistCare Carey Gardens decided to create their very own Floriade, much to the delight of residents and staff alike. We spoke to Petrina Becker, Lifestyle Coordinator at Carey Gardens, to find out more.

“The concept of our Floriade project came about at the end of June when people were feeling a little flat with the cooler weather”, Petrina shared.
“Floriade and the other beautiful gardens on display around Canberra are something the residents at Carey Gardens love to go to each year, so the cancellation of Floriade was a disappointment for our residents.

“To lift people’s spirits, we wanted to do something special and memorable that would bring in aspects of Floriade and give the residents a taste of the community while engaging in craft and gardening activities and having something to work towards together.

“My team and I were getting very excited when talking through what we could achieve. There were lots ideas and enthusiasm. Most things came to plan, a few different things evolved and quite a few extra things happened along the way.

“It has been wonderful seeing the residents working together connecting with the activities and trying things they may not have done before. We have had multiple things on for weeks. Things for the residents to do and special things we were creating for the residents.

“We started planting seeds straight away and building garden planters. One of the residents in particular, Pietro, was a great help digging out garden beds in preparation for planting.

“My team and I have been in the garden nearly every afternoon once we finish work activities, planting and watering. Our gardener Michael and his team have been a great support. They planted out the entire front garden for the Floriade Community Garden.

“We were very fortunate to receive a donation of 2000 Bellis seedlings from the Floriade community program and Rodney’s Plants Plus generously donated some plants for us to put into the garden beside the resident’s lounge room. A community member donated some floristry pots and Lifestyle staff were happy to donate our time and resources to the Floriade project as residents gained so much joy and happiness being involved in the project.

“We made giant paper flowers, leaf-shaped air dried clay leaves displayed on framed branches, lots of hanging wind chimes for our ‘Chime tree’, painted rocks made into flower shapes and painted rock lady beetles that are throughout our gardens, colourful butterflys to hang from a tree, painted pots, and we also built gnome homes and made concrete mushrooms. We joked we were turning into ‘tradie ladies’!

“We are very proud of the little gnome village we created. The residents named the gnomes which we have put on the little mail boxes. I made the residents a display of a mannequin dressed in wood, vines and flowers as the residents always love to see the floristry student displays at Floriade each year.

“For the front Floriade Community garden, I made terracotta Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles sitting on a bench, as we have some fans of the Royals.
“The residents and my team are really proud of what we have achieved, it is great to relax and enjoy it now,” Petrina said.

Sandra Ramsay, Lifestyle Officer and part of Petrina’s team remembers “trying to find something nice for the residents for Spring as Floriade was cancelled.”

“Ideas bubbled over everywhere. It has been great to have a theme and purpose and variety for craft afternoons. A lot of residents have given us gardening tips and they have enjoyed planting and doing gardening.

“It has been lovely to see the residents’ smiling faces when they all see the different displays put outside”, shared Sandra.

“2020 has been a strange year for all of us. It is great to say the only fever at Carey Gardens is ‘Spring fever’,” concluded Petrina.

The reaction from residents has been a wonderful thing to behold, the Lifestyle team have told us.

“Absolutely beautiful! Better than the real thing. I have enjoyed being involved in all of the gardening and craft projects”, said resident Audrey O’Connell.

“Top marks to Petrina and her team for all of the work and long hours. It is just beautiful. It is so relaxing sitting outside with the gardens and water feature watching the fish. It is just lovely”, shared resident Robyn Mackenzie.

Resident Dawn Drew pitched in to help with the project, saying, “It has been wonderful. It has given everybody a new interest in gardening and how relaxing all the trees and flowers are. We all worked very hard.”

Well done to Petrina, the Lifestyle team and the whole team at Carey Gardens!