Shropshire Star

Gardening competition winner encourages public to start gardening to help their wellbeing

A gardening enthusiast, who won a national competition for his fruit and vegetable garden, is encouraging the public to start their own gardens to help boost their wellbeing.

John Trubshaw

John Trubshaw, resident of Anchor’s Sandino Court housing scheme in Telford, took home Best Fruit and Vegetable Garden at Anchor’s national Gardening Competition in 2021.

The annual gardening competition is open to Anchor residents across the country. Showcasing a popular pastime, there were over 400 entries in 2021 and the winners across five categories were awarded with prizes and praise across the organisation.

John garden started as a way for him to exercise and occupy his mind during the lockdowns throughout 2020 and has become a special place for residents and provides an abundance of fresh food for them to enjoy. Walking and eating a healthy diet are some of the ways John maintains a healthy lifestyle. He also believes gardening is a unique way to enhance one’s wellbeing.

He explained: “Gardening is a great way to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Besides the obvious benefits of the fresh air and exercise, there is the satisfaction gained from watching your garden grow from seed to harvest.

“The sense of achievement, when sharing with friends and neighbours, is also great for your mental wellbeing.”

John, who has lived at Anchor’s Sandino Court housing scheme for over four years, has been thrilled to share the garden with fellow residents who have enjoyed the seasonal supply of fruit and vegetables. The courtyard where the garden is located has also become a regular meeting place where residents can sit among the crops and flowers.

Claire Tinsley, manager, said: “It’s been wonderful to see the garden grow and become such a lovely place for residents to socialise.

"John’s award win reflects his hard work and knowledge of gardening while also being a testament to the joy he has brought to other residents’ lives through the project.”

John is originally from Wolverhampton and has lived locally since leaving the RAF in 1975. He has used his gardening expertise in the community by volunteering at Old Park Primary School, The Windmill School and the community garden at Dawley Town Hall in Telford.

He has taught young families and children how to start and maintain their own gardens while encouraging healthy eating and wellbeing by incorporating their fruit and vegetable preference into the crops.

These gardens began with familiar favourites such as carrots, sweetcorn, and peas and have evolved to include a range of brassicas, leeks, garlic, and chilis. All the produce is used within the communities where they are grown. Volunteering with young families and children has helped John to feel upbeat and the energy and enthusiasm of participants has in turn benefited his own wellbeing.

John added: “Starting one’s gardening journey is a great way to boost wellbeing as we head into the new year and is easier than many often think.

"Growing vegetables does not require a large garden or, indeed, any garden at all. The vegetable garden here at Anchor’s Sandino Court is a raised bed type constructed from pallets and scaffold boards. Many crops can be grown this way as well as in pots and tubs.”

John recommends starting with simple plants such as carrots, lettuce, runner beans, and spring onions as they are almost certainly bound to succeed.

He said: “You’d be surprised how these initial successes will encourage you to try other, more adventurous crops as you continue your gardening journey. However, you choose to start your garden, you can look forward to reaping the many rewards of your harvest.”

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