New garden for hospital youngsters

IT was a hospital operation like no other - where steady hands were in less demand than green fingers.

IT was a hospital operation like no other - where steady hands were in less demand than green fingers.

Ipswich Hospital's Hunnitots Nursery underwent not only the knife, but also the digger, trowel, and spade as its outside garden was transformed.

A �77,000 investment saw the garden, used by dozens of children every day, change from a dull square of artificial turf and concrete into a fun learning haven for youngsters.

New features include sensory plants, bug gardens, a covered seating and teaching corner and a storage area for the children's new gardening tools.

Designer and creator Matt Miller, of Miller's Garden Services, even installed a timer irrigation system so when nobody is around the plants are regularly watered.

Alison Colchester, nursery manager, said: “We wanted a natural environment where children could learn hands-on about the environment around them.

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“Now they have a garden which is an extension of the inside learning area and they are fully equipped to go on bug hunts and the like with the magnifying glasses and backpacks.”

The costs of the garden and new equipment were funded by a Early Years grant from Suffolk County Council designed to improve quality, inclusion and access for the under fives.

Hunnitots Nursery caters for 160 children, aged from four months to five years old, who kept a step-by-step diary of photographs and drawings while the garden was refurbished.

The nursery will continue to make good use of the other green spaces across the hospital site.

The nursery's annual summer fete on Saturday, July 11, from 2pm to 4pm will host a grand official opening of the garden.

Have you transformed your garden? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.