Perthshire care home earns praise from Alan Titchmarsh in gardening competition

By Perthshire Advertiser

Famous face Alan Titchmarsh has declared a Perthshire care home as winner of a Scotland-wide gardening competition.

The legendary gardening expert and TV presenter crowned Balhousie Ruthven Towers in Auchterarder as champion of Balhousie in Bloom, which was held amongst Balhousie Care Group’s 26 facilities across the country.

Alan praised Balhousie Ruthven Towers for “individuality, an eye for colour and great spirit” in a revamp involving residents, staff and the community.

The 51-bedroom property, a former country house, received donations from relatives, locals and the church, including lupins and wild geraniums.

It encouraged bees by leaving some flowering weeds, and added an orchard and ‘Zen’ garden to its already extensive gardens. Power washing the patio areas, painting fences and hanging baskets added to the transformation.

Balhousie Ruthven Towers wins a £500 donation to its residents’ comfort fund from Balhousie Care Group.

Home manager Kirsty Smith beamed: “It has been a lot of work but has brought and will continue to bring our residents a lot of happiness and joy.

“We’re thrilled to bits to win Balhousie in Bloom, and to get the seal of approval of Alan Titchmarsh was just the cherry on the cake. It gave me goosebumps.”

Resident Victor Quirie (92) enjoyed helping with the transformation and said: “It was lovely to get stuck in again with planting and to see it all take shape. I’ve always followed Alan Titchmarsh so it’s very special to have him name Balhousie Ruthven Towers as the winner.”

In a closely-run competition judged by Balhousie Care Group senior management, four finalists were chosen.

They were Balhousie Ruthven Towers in the most improved category, Balhousie Luncarty for best community engagement, Balhousie Coupar Angus for best staff and resident participation and Balhousie Rumbling Bridge for best indoor display.#

The grand winner was then chosen by judge Alan, who admitted his task had been a tough one. He also paid tribute to the challenges faced by Balhousie and other care operators these last 18 months.

“It has been very hard choosing an overall winner,” Alan said.

“But I am so impressed by the fact that each entry has understood the value of gardens, plants and flowers in playing their part to improve our lives, particularly during the recent challenging times which have tested us all.

“The overall winner demonstrated individuality, an eye for colour and great spirit. Congratulations to Balhousie Ruthven Towers for its tremendous improvement in providing surroundings that will lift the spirits of residents and visitors alike.”

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