The clock is really ticking now, but our band of merry volunteers continue to work in their gardens in order to produce some fantastic produce for our Shrewsbury Flower Show show garden.

PI solicitor Dawn Humphries has been a star at keeping her garden journal, but take a look at this photo – such a stylish gardener!

Dawn Humphries

Dawn Waters the Garden

And here is her latest entry:

“I now realise that gardening, like life, is littered with highs and lows, and sadly the odd fatality.  It is with regret that I inform you of the tragic demise of a courgette, several cabbages, and four purple sprouting broccoli!

“As I write this dispatch, I am threatened by sustained and devastating airborne attack on my beautiful blue brassica’s, who now bear shrapnel wounds … (in remarkably distinct munch shaped detail of the white cabbage butterfly’s caterpillar).  I am having the dental records assessed.

“The after school snipers have been skilful in their stealth like attempts to sabotage my sugar snaps, but have been thwarted by my warlike cries of “bath time” and “homework”.  My leeks stand tall and are unaffected by the casualties of war.

“But, despite such devastation, my pride is the last standing Courgette, which is now in full bloom, and all being well, may be heavily laden by D day (I just wish it wasn’t Friday the 13th).”

Another solicitor has already had to harvest the peas!

Her feedback included “On last count we had 94 pots containing peas, beans, marigolds, another flower, name currently escaping me, lots and lots of brassicas, some parsley, chives and basil.  We had to harvest the peas as they were about to pull the plants over (they were very tasty), the beans are also doing well.  The marigolds and other flowers are thinking of flowering fairly soon. ”

Back at Headway Shropshire, Mike Russell has been along this week to check on progress.  Everything is growing well and looking healthy.  The painted boards apparently are looking even more magnificent than before – is that really possible!  I wonder if there will be interest to buy these – would raise some great funds for the charity.

Art boards

Such colour


We owe a massive thank you to Howard Dartnall from Moathouse TV, Sam Taylor from Tinker Taylor and Ben Lewis from Siwel Productions for their time in creating our video commercial for the Shrewsbury Flower Show.  Having seen the first production I know it is going to be sensational – very moving shots of some of the clients working on the garden at Headway Shropshire and in the art room.

Once we have it in the finished format, we will be able to run it on our respective websites and of course upload to You Tube.  We are going to have a short 90 second promo version, as well as the longer 3 min footage – so no reason why we shouldn’t get plenty of coverage during the 2 show days.

The water feature – of which a head sculpture is the key component, is coming together.  Using old parts of Land Rovers – thanks to Britpart – the head will depict cogs – symbolic of Headway Shropshire and one of their logos.

Emma Alston

Emma working on the sculpture

Our garden designer, Mike Russell took these shots.  It is through him that we came across Emma Alston, pictured above, who was delighted with the opportunity of working on this garden project, the charity is very close to her heart.

Ben and Dave

Coming together

Can’t wait to see the finished article – it certainly is looking interesting!

It was apparent that the recent wet weather has been most welcome in the Headway Shropshire garden as the plants seem to have progressed in leaps and bounds!  Suddenly, everything has burst into life and had a growth spurt, from the tomatoes and courgettes, to the marigolds and sunflowers.


Brightly coloured Marigolds

Rachel visited the garden this morning and said she was amazed at how quickly the courgettes had appeared after only being re-potted several weeks ago during the horticultural workshop.  I didn’t know that they produce huge yellow flowers, which look lovely, however Rachel found out the hard way that their leaves are very prickly on the underside!


Flowering Courgettes

Apparently the sweet peas are all a beautiful pink colour and flourishing, the marigolds a vivid orange, and the carrots, sweetcorn and runner beans are all looking healthy and robust! So this is all looking good as Show Day is only 3 weeks away!

The art room is still a hive of activity (there is actually very little visible floor space!), the clients continue to make copper wire butterflies, and are covering them with angeline material.  Rachel took a photo of a book that was open on one desk with beautiful colour pictures of moths and butterflies ready to be copy sketched, so the theme is obviously a popular one!

Open Book

Ready for sketching

It is great to see just how this project has caught the imagination of the clients and staff at Headway Shropshire.  I am delighted that Lanyon Bowdler has been able to offer such a fantastic opportunity.

As we are now on count down to the Shrewsbury Flower Show – I’ve got to the stage where I just can’t wait to see the finished garden.

I have mentioned in previous posts how the Art Room at Headway Shropshire is an amazing place, all those paints, fabrics and materials make me want to sit down and ‘get creative’.  When we started the project, I didn’t realise just how many fantastic ideas would come from this room.  We have the splendid, colourful backboards – there are shimmering butterflies and now a vine of copper leaves has been created.

Welding Leaves

Leaves being welded to make a vine

Once the leaves had been welded onto the stem, someone popped it in a tree so that we could see what it would look like!

Copper Leaves in a Tree

Getting the full effect

With only 34 days to Show Day – things are starting to rev up a bit, we have our Chamomile lawn being grown – courtesy of a very kind member of staff from Lanyon Bowdler.  The first draft of our flyer for handing out at the Show has been mocked up, which looks great.

The Quarry park in Shrewsbury will soon start to come to life with marquees being built – it takes several weeks to get ready for the Flower Show, let’s hope summer stays with us just a little longer.

The rain clouds didn’t bode well for the horticultural workshop scheduled for this morning at the Headway Shropshire garden, however it didn’t put anyone off!  Rachel and I had gone along to Headway Shropshire to help Mike Russell, our show garden designer, with a horticultural workshop he was holding for the clients of Headway.  The idea of the workshop was to involve the clients in potting on the vegetable produce and companion plants currently being grown at Headway for inclusion in the Shrewsbury Flower Show ‘show garden’.  As gardening is renowned as being very therapeutic, it was also an excellent rehabilitative exercise for the clients.

Setting Up

Ready for the potting to start


Shelter from the rain

The workshop got started at 9.30am, with a gazebo being set up in the garden to shelter us all from the imminent rain, whilst Mike brought along tables and benches for the Headway clients to work at, together with numerous bags of potting compost and spare pots.


Getting stuck in

Several of the Headway clients then joined us and were soon getting their hands dirty re-potting plants, transferring seedlings, and digging the ground.  Rachel made herself useful by transferring marigolds from their seedling trays into large pots to enable them to grow on, she also made sure she seized the opportunity for plenty of photographs.


Planting seedlings

Luckily we managed to get the majority of the planting done before the rain started!

It was clear that the Headway clients thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially as they came back after lunch to carry on with the gardening after the workshop had finished!

Today had also been about finishing off the filming for our Shrewsbury Flower Show commercial.  Howard was back, complete with his camera and all the tricks.  Having spent some time shooting footage in the garden, we went up to the art room to take a look at what was going on there.


Patiently worked on by clients at Headway

Headway Shropshire clients Paul and James were working on a couple of the panels for the backdrop of the garden.  Both are wheelchair bound – James paints by holding his paintbrush in his mouth.  To watch them working on the boards was really moving – it made me realise just how much effort has been put into these amazing pieces of art – Howard filmed James and Paul whilst they painted and I really hope it’ll appear in our finished commercial.

Finally I met Stuart – Stuart had suffered a head injury as a result of a terrible car accident.  Stuart has been the talent behind the copper leaves, he also worked in the garden this morning.  He said to me that the project has been wonderful and how much he has enjoyed getting involved.


Copper leaves created by Stuart

The Shrewsbury Flower Show is getting closer – just 45 days to go!  Once again this year, there will be a big screen at the Show, broadcasting all the events happening in the main arena – great for those wishing to enjoy a picnic or a drink on the grassy bank, or those viewing from the sponsors and members marquees.

To fill the gaps between events, commercials will run advertising the main sponsors of the Show.  Lanyon Bowdler are sponsoring the Show Jumping and so are able to run an advert.  This is a great opportunity for us to share some of the story about the Show Garden and of course, reinforce the legal services we are able to offer businesses and private individuals.

Last Friday, on a perfect sunny day, Rachel and I met with camera man Howard Dartnall at Headway Shropshire – our task…. to get some video footage of the clients working in the garden to include in the commercial.


Howard Starts Filming

Clients in the Garden

Headway Shropshire Clients Gardening

It was great to see some activity and we were delighted so many of the clients came out to help.  Whilst we are enjoying what appears to be a ‘summer’ (let’s not speak too soon) – it is obvious that a watering rota needs to be implemented as many of the beds are suffering in this dry weather.  Rachel went along at the weekend and I am now find myself hoping for some rain later.  All these plants and vegetables to worry about …..


Edible Nasturtiums

We are due to be back to Headway Shropshire on Thursday, when we will all be getting our hands dirty – that includes me!  Mike Russell – our garden designer is going to be running an informal ‘hands on’ horticultural therapy planting workshop.  He will be giving some hints and tips on successful gardening, whilst working on the produce already being grown in the Headway Shropshire garden – so I’ll be hoping for a dry day!  Howard will be back to take more footage for our video too.

So we have lots of photos, some video – a couple of testimonials and now all we need to agree on is the background music – upbeat and lively or chilled and mellow – I seem to change my mind with my mood – today it is something funky and fun.

Number 1 ‘garden journal’ writer has to be Dawn Humphries – her latest post:

Diary entry

Much euphoria this morning on the watering run, as at long last the seedlings are showing life and coming through…..still no sign of the sweet peas…. yet I live in hope!!!!  I have  instructed the cats to be extra vigilant on their patrols, as someone mentioned it might be mice…..what with slugs and caterpillars and now mice, I think I might be ringing Rentokil for their extermination squad.

Despite such sabotage, the veggie sitting is going very well, all are looking very established and healthy in their new pots and enjoying the sunshine.  I do, however, know that one of my colleagues has a polytunnel (no competition sneaking in here).  But, so as not to be out done….. I hear than nettle tips and comfrey left in a bucket of water makes rocket fuel plant food, (I don’t actually know what comfrey looks like and the children are not keen on nettle picking) but I shall not be deterred…..now where did I put my tape measure!!!”

So back to Headway Shropshire and the art room….

There certainly are some very creative people at the centre on Oxon Business Park.  Since we started the project, Rachel and I have been delighted with the colourful and original ideas, so much work has been put into pieces which will feature in the garden.

These plaster of Paris flowers are ready for painting, judging by the colours that have been used on the back drops, these will look both eye-catching and pretty.

Plaster of Paris Flowers

Ready to be Painted

The arbour to the rear of the plot will feature a stained glass window.  Designed and created by Frans Wesselman, information about Frans can be found on the credits page, but his logo itself is a stunning piece of artwork.

Frans Wesselman