Meet Peter, a very keen gardener who we’re lucky to have live with us at Clifton House in the Isle of Wight. Peter prides himself in his creations and is always looking for a new project to work on to fulfil his hobby and brighten up the gardens of the house. 

Peter moved into the house in July of 2018, when he was referred to Abbeyfield by the Isle of Wight council. He decided to visit the house with a friend and was in luck as there was a fully furnished room readily available at the time. Peter was so pleased to be able to have somewhere to go as he had been in an abusive relationship prior. So, with that, he went back home to collect his belongings and moved straight in. 

In March of this year, Peter suffered a heart attack, but thanks to a member of staff who decided to pop in early to see Peter on this particular day he was able to go to hospital – Peter says, “she saved my life.” Now, Peter is conducting tours around the garden – one person at a time, two meters apart – to raise money for St Marys Hospital because of the treatment he received from them during his stay. 

Peter’s love for gardening

Peter has a real gift when it comes to gardening. Last summer Clifton House won first prize in the ‘Wight in Bloom’ competition for the ‘best care giving complex garden’ thanks to Peter, who was presented the award by Alan Titchmarsh. Peter and everyone at the house are hoping there is a competition again this year.   

Lois, Senior Manager at Clifton House said, “He does the gardening every day and feeds the birds. He really enjoys it, he has been a previous winner of Wight in Bloom and has won the first prize four times and the second prize twice!

“All the residents enjoy the persity and the total transformation of the garden – especially during these unprecedented times.”

Peter has created a courtyard sitting area with over 100 different plants and hanging baskets. He recently found a rockery covered in weeds which he tidied up nicely. He has become a bit of a local celebrity in the town; known for watering the High Street plants and offering gardening advice and support in the community to fellow horticulturists. 

Abbeyfield Bugs Hotel

Most recently Peter recently built a bug’s hotel where he made small houses out of recycled wood and scraps, fixing them to the wall of the garden just above his newly created rockery. Peter said, “Bringing bugs into the garden is good for the environment and the wildlife, there is a place in the hotel for the bumble bees, ants, beetles, woodlice and ladybirds.” 

There are so many benefits to building a bug’s hotel, they can;

supplement the loss of natural habitats for bugs

encourage beneficial insects to help control pests

stimulate persity and ecological balance in the garden

offer an opportunity for educating others about how balanced ecosystems work 

Peter is also keen on reducing his carbon footprint, using only donated or recycled items to build the hotel. He has always been passionate about the environment, and often finds ways to incorporate environmentally friendly ideas into his gardening.

In his design for the courtyard space at Clifton House, he has used collected rainwater and even made his own fertiliser using old banana skins. We look forward to seeing what bugs find sanctuary in the hotel.

Peter’s next project is to build a pool for frogs, so that they have a place to relax and enjoy the snails and the slugs for tea. We can't wait to see it!