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Blog Post

This Week’s Guest Blogger is Beverley McAlpine, a Garden Designer and Horticultural Therapist at Greensense-design

When we plant a seed we set it on it’s way . We lay the foundation for growth with good soil and water , we cherish and nourish the small seedling over the weeks as it sprouts up to the light and we transplant these seedlings and roots into larger pots before placing outside to face the great
outdoors . This process takes months and requires memory , observation , encouragement and careful handling- sometimes disappointingly we have to change course and try again.

In a way our own lives follow a similar pattern to this tiny seed . In 2008 I returned to the UK after 12 years away, repatriating slowly over the coming months . I began to feel unfulfilled , unsettled and unhappy until it dawned on me that despite my exciting time overseas , I had withdrawn from truly connecting with nature .That day a seed was planted- but how was I going to set this idea on its way and what skills did I need to grow it into
something valuable ? This is what happened .

Step One : Setting the seed on it’s way
My background was in Occupational Therapy and I wanted to be able to share the new journey with others who needed support , so I volunteered to work on an organic farm with adults who had challenges . I learnt about seed planting , growing flowers and vegetables and I learned to drive a
tractor . Life was good and I loved every minute of my time on the farm, sharing skills and learning from all those around me.

Step Two : Nurturing the seed with care and observation
In order to gain more horticultural knowledge I gained a foundation in horticulture and went on to become a garden designer but the direction felt disconnected – remember the seedlings that don’t quite grow ?

Step Three : Potting on with care and attention
I needed something else to run alongside the design work and found part time work as a Horticultural Therapist at Walworth Garden in London working in the allotment growing vegetables, in the the garden maintaining the plants and in the colder months inside the unit, creating indoor gardens and having such fun. Biophillic design and nature deficit disorder continue to be at the heart of my journey and I have had opportunities to work with Gayle Souter – Brown on creating landscapes for health and well being

Step Four : The Garden
Since 2009 horticulture , design work and horticultural therapy have all come together to become Green Sense Design, a freelance service designing gardens for health and well being, a Community Interest Company for horticultural therapy working in care homes and with individuals, linking
up with social prescribing services and opening up opportunities to connect with amazing people who work in all aspects of horticulture . This is my garden and I hope it continues to grow.


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