Residents welcome new patio garden at Hartlepool retirement village

The Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Paul Beck, with his Mayoress and wife Mary, open the new patio garden at Hartfields with a helping hand from designer Christina Rees, right, and resident Jean Dawson, with fellow residents looking on.
The Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Paul Beck, with his Mayoress and wife Mary, open the new patio garden at Hartfields with a helping hand from designer Christina Rees, right, and resident Jean Dawson, with fellow residents looking on.

Residents of a Hartlepool retirement village have been given more scope to enjoy the great outdoors after a new sheltered garden was installed.

Hartfields Retirement Village has opened a new patio garden area within its site.

The Mayoress of Hartlepool, Mary Beck, with Hartfields resident June Groom, 85, as they enjoy a look at the flowerbeds in the new patio garden.

The Mayoress of Hartlepool, Mary Beck, with Hartfields resident June Groom, 85, as they enjoy a look at the flowerbeds in the new patio garden.

There had been limited opportunity for residents to sit outside on all but the sunniest and warmest days before the garden was installed, with the grounds exposed to cold winds.

The village was helped by a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust’s ‘Dementia Without Walls’ programme as it transformed what was once a forgotten, windswept space into a sensory garden.

Gardener Christina Rees worked closely with residents to make it a reality.

She said: “I’ve really enjoyed working alongside residents on this project, really creating something out of nothing.

I’ve really enjoyed working alongside residents on this project, really creating something out of nothing

Christina Rees

“This part of the grounds was always very bare, and really not somewhere where anyone would choose to be for long.

“I really hope that it will now get lots more use and that residents will sit out to chat with friends or have a little while just to relax with the tranquil sound of the water feature.

“There are plans afoot too, for lots of gardening activities out here in the better weather and plenty of opportunities for residents to get involved in helping to maintain the new pots and planters.

“It is great to see this space coming to life – in the past few weeks, we have seen lots of butterflies attracted to all the new flowering plants, especially dahlias in the raised beds.”

The new patio garden at Hartfields.

The new patio garden at Hartfields.

A 14-metre long wooden trellis pergola has been erected, and planted up with climbers and shrubs which will provide scent, shelter and visual interest as they mature.

Further planters are on casters, while there is an array of new pots and hanging baskets, herbs in raised beds and a feature rainbow stone sphere from which water bubbles gently.

New garden furniture has also been put in place at the village, which is for people aged 60 and over who want to live in their own home within a socially inclusive community.

There are more than 300 residents living there.

The new patio garden at Hartfields.

The new patio garden at Hartfields.