After Red Nose Day for Comic Relief it's time to go Green for Garden Re-Leaf Day and the Greenfingers Charity.
Garden Re-Leaf Day is only 5 days away on Friday 22nd March 2018. It's your opportunity to get the season going again with fun activities in store to increase footfall, generate extra local publicity and raise some money for Greenfingers to help our industry charity build more gardens at Childrens Hospices in their 20th year.
In July 2011, Hillview Garden Store CEO and industry stalwart, Boyd Douglas-Davies announced the inaugural Garden Re-Leaf Day at the Garden Retail Awards in London. Now in its eighth year, Garden Re-Leaf Day is the biggest charity fundraiser in the garden industry’s calendar and has raised over £600,000, including over £70,000 in 2018 alone.
Positioned as the garden industry’s answer to Comic Relief and Sports Relief, the aim of Garden Re-Leaf Day was to celebrate the start of the garden year with fundraising events to raise money for Greenfingers, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children in hospices through the creation of magical gardens.
For the garden industry, the day creates valuable team building opportunities and brings more shoppers into garden centres earlier to extend the peak spring season. Garden centre managers, staff and other industry professionals tirelessly set up fun and exciting ways to not only raise money for Greenfingers, but also to promote gardening as an enjoyable pastime.
But where do these vital funds go? Most will already be aware that the money raised is used to build Greenfingers hospice gardens which enable children and their families to enjoy special time together outside enjoying the therapeutic benefits of nature, and away from the bedside.
Greenfingers work exclusively with each hospice to come up with a unique design that suits the needs of the children and families they care for. Each garden is created with top industry designers and landscapers, as well as help from the local community, volunteers and gardening clubs.
In total, 55 Greenfingers gardens have been built since the charity’s creation in 1998 with many being funded by monies from Garden Re-Leaf Day. The inaugural Garden Re-Leaf Day in 2012 raised more than £55,000 for Greenfingers, helping a specially designed, family garden to be built at both Robin House Children’s Hospice in West Dunbartonshire, and Donna Louise Children’s Hospice in Stoke-on-Trent.
2019 is a big year for Greenfingers gardens, with a further four set to be completed. The Nest and Rest Garden at Grace House, Sunderland, is set to be made a reality under the expert eye of Sean Murray, 2015 winner of the BBC's Great Chelsea Garden Challenge. Designed to attract wildlife, this garden will utilise interactive water features, sensitive planting and sheltered areas to provide families with an invaluable outside space for respite and relaxation, as well as stimulating features that can be used for therapies and reflection.
Over at Claire House Children’s Hospice on the Wirral, Carolyn Willetts of CW Studios, will be transforming the outdoor space into a Garden of Colour. Featuring a Creation Station, Rainbow Meadow, A Quiet Place and sensory Falling Leaves, this garden will be a feast for the senses year-round.
Little Harbour Children’s Hospice in St Austell is set to be transformed by local landscape architect and designer, Darren Hawkes. Darren takes his inspiration from the landscape that surrounds him, and his designs have a harmonious feel to them. He says "I love the relationship between plants and hard materials. The opportunity to highlight shapes both in foliage and form as well as in colour is one that I relish". His plans for the Little Harbour garden include all-weather facilities, including a covered hide out festooned with coloured glass panels.
At Richard House Hospice in London, Greenfingers is working with garden designer Andrew Fisher Tomlin from Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer to create a new special sensory garden. The brief is to 'create a sensory garden which takes families on a journey through the woodland area, starting with a colourful archway and then connecting with different sensory elements of the garden.' It also all needs to be wheelchair accessible.
Greenfingers Director of Fundraising and Communications, Linda Petrons said: “Garden Re-Leaf Day has resulted in life-limited children and families who spend time in hospices being able to enjoy precious time together in a Greenfingers garden. It’s really easy to take part, you can sign up and participate in one of this year's organised initiatives such as the Garden Re-Leaf Walk and Cycle Challenge. Why not organise your own event, and register it so that it can be included in all the media briefings that raise awareness of the cause?”
You can sign up to take part in 2019 Garden Re-Leaf Day events (March 22nd) or register your own by visiting the Greenfingers Charity website www.greenfingerscharity.org.uk/gardenreleaf
Here's a list of some of the events already planned for Friday:
Altons Garden Centre – Quiz
Aylett Nurseries Limited – Goodwill Coffee Morning and Tombola, 8.30-12pm, 22nd March
Haskins Garden Centres – Raffles running 15-24th March at Ferndown, Roundstone, Snowhill and West End Garden Centres
Holiday Inn Chester South – Mount Snowdon climb on 22nd March
Longacres Garden Centre – Are holding a Sponsored Static Cyclotron in the Bagshot Branch and holding an ever-popular Raffle.
Old Railway Line – Are holding a Curry and Quiz Night
Perrywood – Are holding a Quiz.
Poplars Garden Centre – Are Having a Curry and Quiz Night, plus a Raffle on 22nd March.
Rowlawn Limited – Are hosting various events including a Mucky Dip and a Cake Sale, from 10.30-4pm on 22nd March.
Squire Garden Centres – Will be hosting a Create and Grow Mother's Day Planting Weekend from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st March at all centres except Chertsey, between 9:30am-3:30pm (10.30am on Sunday).
Sunshine Garden Centre – Children's Activities
Thurrock Garden Centre – Are holding a Raffle, plus hosting a number of free Children's Activities on 22nd March, where people can donate to Greenfingers Charity.
Whitehall Garden Centres – On Friday 22nd March they will be donating £1.00 from every hot drink and cupcake sold in their restaurants. They will also be holding a raffle from which all proceeds will be donated to Greenfingers Charity.
Plus there's the Garden Re-Leaf Day Walks and Cycle Rides that start and finish at Worlds End Wyevale Garden Centre, where the GTN team will be based for the day.
If you want to find out more about how to get involved in Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Day 2019, whether by putting on events in your garden centre, through sponsored solo activities or simply by donating - contact the Greenfingers office on 01494 674749 or email Linda@greenfngerscharity.org.uk.
See our gallery of photos from previous Garden Re-Leaf Days. Enjoy and have some great fun!