LAST month, Joyce Williams, 90, from Hullbridge, who currently lives with glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, was crowned the winner of the ‘pots and patios’ category in St. Luke’s Hospice’s very first Virtual Flower Show competition.
Thanks to the help of family and friends, Joyce is able to continue tending to her much-loved plants and patio.
Talking about how her visual impairment has affected her gardening, Joyce said: “I am much more reliant on other senses, like touch and smell now.
“I love perfumed plants, such as lemon scented geraniums and Special Anniversary roses, and am attracted to plants that are yellow, royal blue and deep pink, as these are colours that I am still able to see.
“I am a lot more tactile now but fortunately that lends itself to gardening as it allows me deadhead flowers and leaves or recognise ripe fruit simply by touch.”
Joyce has always loved gardening ever since her husband, who was an engineer with a passion for landscaping gardens, introduced her to it: “I am very passionate about my garden; I could garden forever!
“I can’t be as hands on as I used be but luckily my niece and great-niece also enjoy gardening and so they often come round to help me.
“Just because I’m older and can’t see very well, doesn’t mean I’m going to give up doing what I love, it just means I have to be a bit more careful.”
Anybody who knows Joyce knows how beautiful and relaxing her garden is, which is why a close friend suggested she enter the St. Luke’s Hospice Virtual Flower Show competition: “I love my garden but I certainly didn’t expect it to win! I am absolutely delighted to have won the ‘pots and patios’ category.
“I have planted my prize, the Pearl of St. Luke’s rose, under the window in a pot near the door and it smells wonderful!”
To anyone who would like to turn their hand to gardening, Joyce’s advice is: “Remember that you don’t always have to stick to the rules. Gardening should be about having fun and trying new things.
“It’s always nice to experiment with a variety of different colours, textures, shapes and smell rather than keeping everything neat and plain. You just have to take a chance!”
St. Luke’s Hospice, which supports people in Basildon, Thurrock and wider South West Essex, continues to provide essential care to people in the community; in people’s own homes, in its In-Patient Unit, and by offering vital support services such as counselling over the phone, where it is able to do so.
To find out more about the services or how you can help support the charity, visit the St. Luke’s Hospice website at www.stlukeshospice.com.