It’s been an exciting year at Elm Tree Farm with some big celebrations for a few of our veteran trainees. Last month, we enjoyed Terry’s 60th birthday, although this was no ordinary celebration as we also celebrated Terry’s impressive 37 years at Elm Tree Farm!
Terry is an experienced and reliable member of staff. In addition to his paid position with Grounds and Gardens – our grounds maintenance and gardening service – he enjoys working with the Market Garden team as well.
He’s fully active in both enterprises, taking part in a wide range of tasks including sowing, planting, mowing, and digging. Terry has accumulated a wealth of knowledge on practical processes, as well as seasonality and the sowing calendar. He shows fantastic attention to detail – crucial for a successful gardener and food grower. Growing carrots is his speciality, particularly rainbow carrots (which also happen to be his favourite).
Elm Tree Farm has had a stall at the weekly St Nicholas Farmers Market, in Bristol, since 1998. Over the years, Terry has become well-known; an expert salesman. He loves to chat with customers and is a much-liked member of the team.
Glenside Hospital Museum visit
In celebration of Terry’s 37 years on the farm and 60th birthday, we decided to visit Glenside Hospital Museum. The museum showcases the history of the expanding hospital complex that surrounded Stoke Park in the early 1900s. The hospital comprised long–stay residencies for people with learning disabilities, including Heath House – where Terry grew up – and Dower House – the big yellow castle you see as you drive up the M32, which is also visible from the Farm. This group of services were set up by Reverend Harold Burden, a philanthropist who bought the land in 1911, to house people with learning disabilities.
Terry’s early years
Growing up in Heath House, Terry lived just down the road from Elm Tree Farm and first got involved with gardening when the Farm and the Stoke Park Colony of residential hospitals became linked. Patient and resident rehabilitation programmes often included work on the Farm. It was fascinating to learn about the history of Elm Tree Farm and its relationship to the hospital. We discovered that the Farm supplied the hospital with produce such as fruit, vegetables, and meat.
The museum had lots of interesting displays and artefacts to look at. One of displays explaining the physical and mental health benefits for patients who were involved with the Farm, featured Terry working on the Farm in the 1980s. He was particularly excited to show this display to his friends and work colleagues!
The benefits of farm work
The benefits included; exercise, being outdoors and connected to nature, having a purpose and sense of responsibility towards the running of the Farm – not unlike today! Furthermore, the social and emotional wellbeing of getting to know others, working as a team, and group interaction was, and still is, an integral part of life at Elm Tree Farm!
The display also included a quote from Terry: “The farm is good, collect eggs, feed animals food, grow plants; veg a lot, it’s good.”
The visit was a hit!
The visit proved a hit! It was a delight to be shown around the museum while Terry shared some of his personal stories and memories. The visit was a fitting way for us all to celebrate Terry’s hard work, commitment, and of course, 60th birthday!