Gardener Judy Good is sowing the seeds of hope

AN Edinburgh garden designer is creating a special space where dementia sufferers and their carers can get much-needed peace in the City.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 6:19 am
Judys garden will help dementia sufferers and carers

Freelance garden designer Judy Good, 42, had the idea for it at the Royal Botanic Garden while studying there for her garden design diploma.

She said: “I was inspired by my good friend Gillian whose mum suffered from early-onset dementia and is now, sadly, in the very late stages of the disease.

“Gillian was always looking for places to take her mum, where they could get out of the house and spend time together, but where her mum felt safe and relaxed.

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“It can be difficult. There are not many places in Edinburgh and the surrounding area where this need can be met.

“There are plenty of gardens in care homes but people with dementia shouldn’t be shut away. They deserve to have a space they can go and feel part of the wider community.”

Judy’s friend Gillian Lindsay said: “In the eight years that we’ve lived with my mum’s dementia, we’ve come to realise that we can’t prevent the disease getting worse.

“We try to help her have a sense of contentment in the present. With her fading memory and understanding of the world, life can feel very stressful and complicated for her. To help with this, we talk to her about the immediate things around us.

“Our one-way conversations are made easier by being in a place where there is a feeling of beauty and calm, as well as a different sights and scents and sounds.

“A garden created with this in mind will be an ideal place for us to spend time together, to be peaceful and happy in the moment. Such a huge part of the Botanics’ own history is about being therapeutic and restorative and I see immense value in having a garden there which brings an element of this to people living with dementia now.”

Mum-of-three Judy launched her new business Good Garden Design last year, after ditching a high-flying career as an investment manager to spend more time with her kids.

She is bowled over that her project could be a permanent feature in the Botanics to improve lives of dementia sufferers.

She said: “The garden was my final project on the course. I didn’t win the competition to create a showcase garden because the judges thought this had more long-term potential. I hope the garden will provide a bit of a haven.”

With £20,000 funding already in the bag, work could start in late September for a spring opening.

Plans also feature an information board to help tackle stigma about dementia.

Judy said: “The garden will also be a space where different groups, including school kids, can learn about dementia.

“The garden is already taking shape. I don’t think there is anything else like it in Edinburgh or Scotland.”