Real Lives

No dig? No problem!

Tracey James, gardener extraordinaire and horticultural expert at Majesticare’s stunning Somerset care home, Oaktree Court in Wellington, has been hailed a Hero by her team for her incredible efforts during the pandemic.

So who is the amazing Tracey James…

Tracey, known by everyone at Oaktree Court as ‘Flower’ joined the home just over 2 years ago and like her gardens, she has grown to be such a valued member of the team, residents and colleagues couldn’t imagine life without their wonderful “Flower”!

Over recent years, Tracey has added many wonderful additions to seven acres of breathtakingly beautiful grounds of the home from delicate and pretty flower gardens to bring big smiles to her residents to her pride and joy “The Veggie village.”

Tracey’s ‘Veggie Village’

The idea for Tracey’s brilliant ‘veggie village’ first arose when she was offered some old disused water tanks. She cleverly decided to transform them into unique and interesting raised beds, enabling her green-fingered comrades to satisfy their love of gardening! The raised beds, which are also the perfect height for wheelchair accessibility, provided an abundance of fruits and vegetables, which were all harvested by Tracey and the amazing residents within the home!

During the years lockdown and the summer months that followed, the homes kitchen team set the challenge to ‘go large’ on vegetable production and produce as many homegrown vegetables as possible.

The ‘No Dig’ approach

Recognising that she wouldn’t be able to call upon one of Wellington’s strapping young gardeners to provide some muscle, Tracey began to think how she could best to utilise her ability and knowledge to provide the home with the juiciest homegrown produce! With the hot summer months already at large in Somerset, trying to dig out hard clay to plant seeds was not going to be the best idea!

A simple minor bump in the road to Oaktree Courts “Flower” as she dove into her wealth of gardening knowledge and was quickly reminded of the ‘No Dig Method’ made famous by Charles Dowding. This is a completely ingenious method involving placing layers of wet cardboard onto the ground followed by manure and compost and thus Tracey’s ‘veggie village’ was born!

Fast forward to today and the kitchen has everything from sprouts, kale, cabbage and carrots to runner beans, lettuce, tomatoes, spring onions and even cucumbers all by her own initiative!

When asked about her amazing Summer of growing, Tracey said

“This has been a great experience! There really is nothing more satisfying than growing your own and especially when you can involve the residents and see the pure happiness on their faces.”

What does the future hold?

Once a private residence, Oaktree Court Care Home has beautiful walled kitchen garden which unfortunately has become somewhat overgrown! But… with a glimmer of a pathway and a unkempt flower bed, the spring will see a resurrection of a new kitchen garden full of flowers and tasty produce!

Marie George, Home Manager at Oaktree Court commented, “Seeing Tracey receive recognition for all the hard work that she has put in over the last two years, is truly amazing. She has transformed the grounds here at Oaktree Court & has produced unbelievably fresh, vibrant and tasty organic produce from her no dig method. We are very proud of her achievements”

Learn more about how Oaktree Court are welcoming new residents and keeping everyone as safe, happy and connected as possible in this brave new world. Visit and to follow the happiness within the home head to their Facebook page




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