A blooming love of horticulture

78 year old Irene tells us about her love of horticulture and all things green.....

Ageing Better Middlesbrough member Irene Bayley has been impressing family members and neighbours with her gardening skills for some time now.

The 78 year old from Coulby Newham loves growing flowers, shrubs and vegetables and has done so for around 6 decades.

Her love for all things floral started when she was a young girl helping out on her fathers allotment.

“I loved helping my dad out. She said.

“I was always a bit of a tom-boy back in the day, so I loved getting my hands dirty. I had a lot of fun and learnt the ropes very quickly.”

Her journey continued as a young teenager, when she got married to her late husband at the age of 17.  (Where you could say a romance bloomed just as quick as the proverbial flower)

“We managed to get an allotment together at the old Town Farm close to Cargo Fleet Lane in Middlesbrough. We seen it as a great project to get our teeth stuck in to.

“At one point we even won Allotment of the Year. It was in a state of disrepair when we took it over, but we soon changed that around.

“We were married for 58 years all together. I miss him a lot but I think he’d be happy I’m continuing to do it.”

Fast forward to the present day – and even though Irene has had 2 knee replacements – it hasn’t stopped her from doing all of the normal gardening she’s used to.

“I feel just as passionate about it now as I did all those years ago. She said.

“I help out my 90 year old neighbour with her garden and we also have garden parties and BBQ’s – at which I get lots of compliments about my efforts.


“It even kept me busy during the lockdown period. I’m not one for just sitting in a chair, so pottering around as usual made the process a lot easier.

“I’d urge anyone to do it. The most satisfying thing is when I look out the window at all of the colours. It gives me a real sense of pride when I see what I’ve done.

“You’ll feel exactly the same if you do it.”



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