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Ready Steady Grow 2023 Entries

Your entries

Voting is now closed.

All entries have been received for this year’s Ready Steady Grow competition, and now it’s time to make your mark on the awards by voting for your favourite garden or outdoor space and deciding the most worthy winner.

The brief: How does your garden grow? How you choose to transform your outdoor spaces is entirely up to you, so feel free to be as creative as you like.

Winners will be announced on Friday 1 September.

Ready Steady Grow 2023 Logo


1. Pebmarsh Close (Homelessness) - Colchester 

A 3 image collage of the gardens at Queen Elizabeth Way one of a new seating area, a lush green lawn and some yellow planters

As part of our Ready Steady Grow project, residents at Pebmarsh Close wanted to create a calming, safe space where they could hold meetings and chill out. Together, staff and residents have proudly made brightly coloured hanging pots to dot around, as well as buying a new outdoor furniture set that can be used to hold key workings, house meetings and social events. This is an ongoing project, and we’re looking forward to sowing some seeds for the wildlife, cutting the grass, removing the stinging nettles, weeding the patio, and generally having a tidy up.

2. Queen Elizabeth Way (Homelessness) - Colchester - Entry 1

A 4 image collage of the gardens including 3 raised planters, lush green grass and 2 picnic benches

Residents at 116a Queen Elizabeth Way fondly remember growing fruit and veg as children, and so they made it their mission to transform the outdoor space at the homelessness service in Colchester into a planting garden. We’ve planted a plum tree, peppers, cabbages, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, lettuce, potatoes and spring onions – we’re just waiting patiently for them to grow! We hope to encourage residents to continue using this area to plant and grow, and they’re already looking forward to using freshly home-grown produce in their recently received slow cookers, to rustle up some healthy and nutritious meals. Residents will continue to tend the project over the next year, and will hopefully form part of a bigger entry for Ready Steady Grow in 2024. As the garden is still used as a communal area for residents, there is some seating for them to use at their leisure when gardening, or socialising.

3. Queen Elizabeth Way (Homelessness) - Colchester - Entry 2

A 6 image collage showing the communal garden with brightly coloured bird houses, grey painted planters, gravel walk ways, lush green grass and garden benches


For our second entry, we worked hard to make the communal garden shared by 18 residents an area that felt loved, and a space that could be used socially, as well as for key working and support sessions with a new table and chair setup. We battled the great British weather to plant beautiful flowers that will attract wildlife into the garden, as well as using colourful teapots and teacups for bird feeders. There are also bird houses, insect houses and a hedgehog house. For organic waste, we’ve got a compost bin, and there are some pretty lights strung over the garden. Comments from residents have included: “This is like a proper garden now!”, and “let’s keep it looking nice.” Success!

4. Thorpe Road (Homelessness) - Norwich

A 6 image collage showing a hanging basket with vibrant coloured flowers, shoots of plants beginning to show in numerous small plant pots, and images of coloured pots and ornaments amongst lush green grass


With the help of some funding and kind donations of pots and plants, we did our best to brighten up the concrete space outside of Thorpe Road. Residents thoughtfully dedicated a patch to a fellow resident who started staining a frame to display plants on, but sadly passed away during the project. Once the frame was finished by the other residents, it was used to display flowers around the memorial spot.

5. Ruth House (Young People) - Essex

A 6 image collage of the garden at Ruth House with a manicured green lawn, freshly planted bright flowers and a sheltered wooden seating area


As part of Ready Steady Grow, we aimed to make our garden more resourceful. With funding, staff, residents, and their children built a bug area, complete with bug hotels, which fascinated the children as they inspected insects and learned more about garden life. We’ve also created a vegetable patch and discussed recipe ideas using home-grown veg to encourage residents to try healthier eating. We’ve re-painted the entire fence around the garden, the log cabin and the picnic table, and there are some bird feeders, which the children check on a daily basis. There’s a fairy garden for the children to play, as well as two slides, some scooters and a play house which were wonderfully donated.  And out of some tyres that were also donated, we built ‘Freddie The Frog’ - our little garden mascot. This funding has really helped us engage with our clients and teach them skills around cooking, healthy eating and maintaining a good garden space.

6. Buregate Road (Homelessness) - Felixstowe

A 6 image collage of residents at Buregate Road working on their garden, planting tomatoes and other plants as well as painting fences



Our service has very little outside space, but by repurposing the space available to us, we’ve really enjoyed gardening, growing, harvesting, and eating our crops. We created a wildflower garden, and appreciated watching the bees, butterflies and other insects enjoying the space. We’ve reused and recycled old pots, trays and made planters from old wooden pallets, and even managed to source free garden furniture. Most of the residents and staff have got involved in the project, with many of them commenting on how they look forward to attending each week and the positive impact on their mental health. One resident who never missed a week was promoted to head gardener! Now, we’ve started to harvest our peas and beans and will be drying out some to use as seed next year.

7. Compton Road (Disability) - Enfield

A 5 image collage of the garden at Compton Road showing the planting of vegetables, shrubs and flowers as well as colourful hanging plant pots on the fence


Kevin, who lives at Compton Road, had been talking about doing a garden activity with his house mate Regi, so staff looked into making it happen by partnering with the Queen Nursing Institute and local Sweet Tree Farm, who provided a lot of information through a weekly gardening club and farm visits. As Kevin and Regi learned about the health benefits of having a garden, they were supplied with various seedlings which they planted with help from local volunteers and the Co Production Team who helped them acquire garden tools. As they watched the growth of their seedlings, they came up with the slogan "From the seed to the plate" and have since enjoyed the fruits of their labour. Their favourite dish is home-grown potatoes accompanied by their own rainbow salad. The garden has given them more ways to actively spend their time and it’s so therapeutic.

8. Station Road (Mental Health) - Darlington

A 5 image collage of the front garden of Station Road, it is quirky with tables and chairs made out of wooden pallets, with peace signs and other paintings on them they also have vinyl records as decoration stuck to the table in the middle, along with astroturf, hanging decorations, and colourful bunting there are colourful cushions on the chairs for comfort


Our garden has been transformed into a peaceful space to relax and enjoy social activities. Residents decided to create a space that really represented their personalities and followed a rock ‘n’ roll theme to create a Peace Circle where they can sit and enjoy music, good company, and the great outdoors. Residents sustainably sourced donations and materials from the local community, which was really important to them, and they’re so very proud of what they’ve achieved!

9. Fairfax Drive (Young People) - Southend-on-Sea

A 6 image collage of before and after photos of the garden at Fairfax Drive including a wooden gazebo, a flower bed and a raised vegetable patch



At Southend Young Parents Supported Housing, we concentrated on three spaces in the garden. The first was for the children, and we created a safe space using artificial grass, repainted the fence, and added a new playhouse, swing, mud kitchen and chalk board. The second space was the allotment, and we cut back trees and used old tyres and upcycled wood as planters to grow fruit and vegetables, as well as creating a herb garden wall out of old trellis. And for the third and final area we created a bug haven, which is now a learning space for the children to enjoy and explore. We added bird houses, bug hotels, insect and bird feeders along with lots of flowers and seeds to encourage wildlife - although we now have to chase off the squirrels who often dig up all our new plants! This is a fantastic nature space for all to enjoy.

10. Oak Lodge (Disability) - Norfolk

A 6 image collage showing Oak Lodge garden, with a bug hotel, freshly cut grass, an array of flowers in a boat used as a flower bed and freshly planted vegetables



The theme for our garden at Oak Lodge was upcycling, and we were lucky to receive lots of donations like an old boat, a big tractor tyre, and a whole tray of herbs from a residents’ family. A large pallet was transformed by residents Lewis, Adam, Perry, Liam, Henry and Darren, with support from staff, by painting the front and nailing old carrier bags into the gaps to hold soil and now we have our very own herb garden. We’re also growing potatoes, pumpkins, and tomatoes, and to our surprise, we found a blackberry bramble bush! We were gifted some ornaments including a beautiful Thai Buddha. There are sunflowers, a stretch of wildflowers, and some lavender - all planted, weeded and watered by residents. The Estates Team helped us with other maintenance and general upkeep; it was a real team effort. We built bug hotels, an area for the bees to rest, and we’ve even got a resident hedgehog who lives in a den we made from an old chair back.

11. Shaftesbury Place (Disability) - Cheltenham

A 6 image collage of the garden at Shaftesbury place including resident Tina planting a range of brightly coloured red, pink, white and yellow flowers



Tina at Shaftesbury Place has always been a passionate gardener. As part of Ready Steady Grow, it's been wonderful to see the garden flourish with a variety of flowers and become such a tranquil place for residents and visitors. Tina said that she loves everything about gardening, and she is very happy when residents and visitors enjoy their time in our beautiful garden.

12. St Bartholomew's Court (Retirement Community) - Rye - Entry 1

A 4 image collage of resident Faith's garden outside her apartment, filled with a different assortment of different coloured plant pots filled with beautiful flowers and quirky ornaments


95-year-old Faith who lives at retirement community, Bartholomew’s Court, loves her garden and with a little bit of help, she enjoys tending to the outdoor space and talking to other residents about her colourful flowers. She entered this competition a few years back and really enjoyed it – and hopes that people get as much enjoyment out of her garden that she does!

13. St Bartholomew's Court (Retirement Community) - Rye - Entry 2

A 6 image collage of before and after photos of resident Christine's garden outside of her apartment the before is bare with a few plant pots and the after is full of an array of pink and bright coloured flowers lining the exterior walls of her apartment and pathway to the door


Christine, another resident at Bartholomew’s Court has a serious lung condition, so gardening is difficult for her, but she pushes herself to do a little bit at a time because she couldn't bear the thought of having a garden with no plants in it! When she’s done her bit, she feels so proud, and loves to sit back and watch the garden grow day-by-day, producing a blanket of colour throughout the summer. She finds it extremely rewarding that her hard work not only gives her pleasure, but brings a joy to the lives of her neighbours who are often walking around the communal garden.

14. Ramsgate Road (Disability) - Kent

A 6 image collage of the garden at Ramsgate road. Neat and tidy with a boarder of plants and hedges infront of a beautifully painted grey fence with brightly coloured stars and other shapes along it. There are raised flower beds with pink and red flowers as well as some grey garden furniture on the patio in the middle of the garden


At Ramsgate Road, both residents and staff have worked really hard to recycle lots of wood and make furniture, box planters, and wall planters. We have removed some shrubs and created a veg patch, where we’ve grown potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, French beans, chillies, peppers, corn, lettuce and spinach. We made a sand pit for residents to enjoy sensory sessions, and decorated the summer house and turned it into a sensory cabin with a ball pit, stereo, sensory toys and sensory lights. We’ve planted a herb rockery garden with recycled rocks, and lots of lovely different kinds of plants and flowers. All the other planters and the sand pit lid are different colours to make it bright and visual, and we also painted lots of hand prints over the fence to make everything stand out! By the shrubs we laid bark down, and there’s a little garden feature with old recycled wellies that we planted bulbs in too.

15. Milton Street (Homelessness) - Worthing

A 5 image collage of the garden at Milton Street with trimmed hedges and a nice seating area made using pallets and other wood with plants in plant pots, a nice outfoot rug and a bright yellow and white cushion

For our gardening project, we raised garden beds, created a corner sofa made from sustainable wood, and planted a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The aim of the project was to provide current and future residents of Milton Street with fresh produce, but also encourage social interaction and a sense of community. It will be a place of tranquility and relaxation for residents, with a big emphasis on looking after your mental health. Of course, the garden has been entered into the Ready Steady Grow competition with a view to win!

16. Millbrook House (Retirement Communities) - Cambridgeshire

Residents at Millbrook House who are part of the gardening club, planting flowers and other plants in their garden


We planted seeds, potted them, and once they were ready, we planted our flowers to create a lovely flower garden.

17. Chinook (Homelessness) - Colchester

A 6 image collage of the garden at Chinook including beautiful bright flower beds, lush green grass and hanging baskets


All residents had a hand in sprucing up the front of the gardens at Chinook. With Paul Thake as lead gardener, they also worked on making the communal areas more inviting, and have created a herb garden as well as a dedicated space for people to go and relax. The flower boxes were handmade and residents sustainably sourced a lot of recycled material to make this garden bloom!