Uckfield man wins Gardening Against the Odds award

Uckfield blind gardener Jeremy Scott has won another award for his horticultural exploits.

Jeremy, 39, of The Drive, has been named South East regional winner in the Gardening Against the Odds awards.

Although he became blind nine years ago and faces other health problems, Jeremy grows all kinds of organic fruit and vegetables to share with friends and family.

The power of gardens and gardening to change lives for the better, bring people together and provide produce to share is celebrated in the Gardening Against The Odds Awards, run by The Conservation Foundation in association with The Sunday Telegraph.

Jeremy was nominated by horticultural therapy charity Thrive which says his ability to remain positive in light of his illnesses has been inspirational.

He became the charity’s Blind Gardener of the Year. He is pictured with the trophy./images/2012_october/jeremyscott2.jpg

In its nomination, Thrive said Jeremy also suffered from other illnesses including diabetes and kidney failure.

He started gardening by clearing an area of brambles at his parents’ house on the Ashdown Forst and started to grow vegetables. He now produces a wide range of organic seasonal fruit and vegetables for himself, friends and family and his garden has colourful and fragrant plants and looks pretty.

Jeremy says gardening has changed his life in many ways. He thinks about the environment and food in a different way and he puts his limited energy into his garden which proves a positive focus.”

He said: “Gardening makes me happy. I have made a lot of new friends through gardening and have joined my local allotment society where I am also on the committee. I am also a member of a local horticultural society.”

He said he doesn’t think he would have got involved in gardening in such a way if he hadn’t lost his sight.

“But gardening, when I am well enough to do so, has swallowed me up and I talk about it to everyone and anyone,” he said.

Jeremy started with a three metre square plot, now he looks after the size of a tennis court at his parents’ house, his own garden and an allotment.

He is an experimenter with vegetables and has grown black cherry tomatoes and purple carrots – the old Victorian varieties. He has even attempted a water melon.

Like the majority of gardeners, Jeremy has ambitions. “After visiting Hampton Court Flower Show my ultimate aim has to be getting involved in show gardens.”

Summing up the nomination, Thrive said it believed Jeremy was an inspiration, not just to blind people, but also to people with other disabilities because he is coping with so many additional health problems.

Jeremy has been on Radio Four’s Gardeners’ Question Time Panel and conducted interviews for them at Thrive when the charity hosted the show in April (pictured top).

*Jeremy, pictured below with a fine crop of pumpkins and squashes, is a keen supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

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