Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jungle Gets Replaced by Garden Joy; OVERHAUL SHOWS HOW BLIND PEOPLE CAN ENJOY THEIR PLOTS Sponsored by Environment Agency

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jungle Gets Replaced by Garden Joy; OVERHAUL SHOWS HOW BLIND PEOPLE CAN ENJOY THEIR PLOTS Sponsored by Environment Agency

Article excerpt

Byline: By KATY SIMPSON

SHE might not be able to see her garden, but for the first time ever she can enjoy it in her own way.

Nicola Foster, 32, of Cowgate, Newcastle, was born with sight problems, which have been passed on to her nine-year-old daughter Karra.

They live in Eastern Way with Nicola's sister Kirsty, 28, and her daughter Bethany, eight, who are also both registered blind.

Although the family have developed remarkable ways to tackle the everyday tasks which most people take for granted, Nicola and Kirsty have found it impossible to get to grips with gardening.

But after winning a garden makeover competition, their overgrown jungle has now been transformed into an outdoor oasis specifically designed for the partiallysighted.

The sensory garden is full of strong-smelling flowers, herbs, different textures and bright flowers, which enable them to pick up some of the vibrant colours.

Nicola won the dream design after taking the worst garden title in the Cowgate in Bloom competition, which was judged by Marian Foster of BBC Radio Newcastle's Garden Mania programme.

Nicola was initially presented with pounds 25 of garden centre vouchers, but when the organisers heard how her garden had ended up such a mess they decided she deserved a much bigger prize.

"The fact I can let the girls out there now to play is brilliant," said Nicola. "Before it was just a mess, with thick brambles, nettles and thistles.

"I can see a little bit but not much. I was born with conductual cataracts, which run through the family.

"My daughter has the same problem but it is not as bad, and my sister and her daughter are partially-sighted as well.

"We find ways round things.

Like when I make a cup of tea, I have to put my finger on the top of the cup to work out if I have filled it up.

"You just get used to it, because I have never known any different. …

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