Green Thinking Paragon Veterinary Group Land Two Awards At Cumbria In Bloom

They don’t just have a magic touch with animals as the team at Paragon Veterinary Group scooped two awards for the wellbeing and biodiversity garden they have created at their Dalston branch.

Vet Laura Binnie and centre manager Diane Armstrong were presented with the RHS Cumbria in Bloom Awards at Carlisle Civic Centre on October 19.

Paragon received an outstanding award in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category and a silver in the ‘Biodiversity’ category.

“We are absolutely delighted,” said Laura who had the idea for the garden and is Paragon’s Sustainability Lead.

“We worked hard to turn the area beside our building into a haven for staff and for wildlife and it has been wonderful to see it flourish.”

The Paragon team created the garden last year with some help from pupils at St Michael’s School in Dalston who scattered wildflower seeds and helped to plant fruit trees.

The garden was created using donated pollinator friendly plants, and has a bat box, hedgehog hide, robin house and bug hotel.

Laura said: “We wanted to create a pleasant outdoor space for our staff to use for their breaks, as taking time out in green spaces is great for our mental health and wellbeing.

“And also a space to have outdoor meetings to encourage creativity in a calm and neutral space.

“We are incredibly lucky to have this area around the side and back of our practice. We built the garden ourselves and some of the plants were supplied from our staff member’s gardens.

“We use compost that we make from our tea bags and fruit peels, and we planted fruit trees and bushes with the help of our local primary school which produce fresh fruit for our staff to enjoy. 

We water the plants with water collected from our roof.

“We have provided animal hides to encourage wildlife to move in and more recently we have developed a bog garden to further encourage biodiversity in the area.

“Nothing new was bought to develop the garden, we repurposed sandstone blocks and slate and pieces of wood we had lying around.”

The garden is part of Paragon’s sustainability drive. The business, which has centres in Dalston, Newbiggin near Penrith and Wetheral, aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 or earlier.

Laura said: “This is just one of the ways Paragon is doing what we can to become a sustainably minded business that our staff are proud to work for.

“Winning this award has made us excited about what more we could do for next year’s entry.”