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Green thumb Don lends a hand

highercombe residential care home gardener in hope valley

Highercombe resident Don Ellis is lending his expertise to help grow lemon trees at the Hope Valley residential care home.

He’s also taken charge of a raised garden bed, adding fertiliser and working to improve the soil before planting 70 daffodil bulbs.

After suggesting lemons would be a nice addition to the garden, Don helped choose the variety (Eureka) and established two young trees.

“Eureka is a smaller, bushy type of tree that produces lemons that are slightly smaller, thin skinned and very tasty and juicy, with very few pips,” he says.

Don says he’s enjoying maintaining his interest in gardening and spending time outdoors.

“My father taught me a lot about gardening,” he says. “He grew a lemon tree, an apricot tree, a satsuma plum beside about six almond trees. He also grew all types of vegetables for a family of four children.”

When he married and established his own home, Don carried on the tradition, growing his own lemon, apricot and mandarin trees, along with a passionfruit vine, asparagus and vegetables. He also had a good supply of eggs from his hens.

Northern Region Residential Manager Thuy Phan says she is looking forward to seeing Don’s daffodils bloom in spring.

“Don’s garden is a great example of our Healthy Ageing approach, where we make it as easy as possible for people to choose to be active, remain connected and engage in what they love to do every day.”

Built in 2010, Highercombe is a two-storey residential care home that offers accommodation for 126 residents.

Caption: Gardener Wayne and Don work together to plant two ‘Eureka’ lemon trees in the courtyard at Highercombe, Hope Valley.