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Introducing the UK’s RHS community gardens

Introducing the UK’s RHS community gardens

Access to green space is generally acknowledged as playing an important part in both physical and mental wellbeing, which is one reason why the RHS has long championed community gardening. The organisation’s drive to promote community gardening took a significant step forward during National Gardening Week, which took place earlier this month.

As part of this year’s RHS national Garden Day, which was held on 2nd May, four new community gardens across the UK (one per home nation), were unveiled. All projects will receive funding from the RHS Community Grant Scheme, with the successful foursome announced on BBC 1’s early evening programme The One Show. We find out a bit more about each project here.

England - Huntingdon

The Coneygear Community Park Growing Garden will be located on a previously unused area in one of Huntingdon’s community parks.

Garden designer Arit Anderson is aiming to create a space with accessibility in mind, as well as being a welcoming place for people to come together to grow fruit and vegetables for the community café and fridge scheme. The site will offer a multitude of growing areas in addition to seating areas designed to bring people together after the social isolation created by the pandemic

Huntingdon In Bloom was responsible for the successful grant application. Natasha Pierson of the group believes that it will be an important addition to the area, commenting: “So many different groups use our community centre and having a beautiful space outside where different generations can meet and interact in a safe environment will be of huge benefit for mental, physical and social wellbeing.”

Northern Ireland – Randalstown

New York’s famous Highline walkway was the inspiration for Randalstown Community Garden. The project involves transforming a former railway viaduct which is currently used as a recreational path. The funding application was submitted by volunteers at Tidy Randalstown Environmental Group.

Garden designer Johnny Knox is working on the project, which aims to create a place where people can come and relax together. The garden will include extended bee corridors, seeds and berries for birds and shelter for hibernating species. Design features will incorporate the region’s history with brass arches emulating the viaduct shape.

Scotland – Paisley

The Barshaw Park community growing space aims to celebrate Paisley’s history as a centre of the weaving industry by incorporating paisley pattern-style raised beds. The site of the garden was formerly a donkey paddock in Barshaw Park.

The scheme has been designed by Nicola Semple and Susan Begg of Semple Begg and incorporates the use of repurposed local materials, from recycled barrels used for wheelchair-accessible raised beds, to larch sleepers sourced and grown on the Isle of Bute used for surrounding walls. The garden will also make use of natural composting, facilities for rainwater collection and a wormery.

The garden will be managed by volunteers from the Friends of Barshaw Park who aim to make the space accessible, sociable and inclusive with features such as a tool library and a gardening buddy system.

Wales – Forgeside near Blaenavon

Blaenavon’s new RHS Community Garden will include an outdoor classroom as well as community spaces and planting areas. The garden will be located in the small village of Forgeside, where few residents have gardens. So, when Forgeside Rugby Club applied to the RHS Community Grant Scheme, the lack of access to green space was an important factor. The new garden will be located next to the town’s rugby pitch – an area that was once derelict and defaced by litter.

Inspired by the heritage of Blaenavon and the surrounding area, which played a significant role in the industrial revolution, the garden design includes the use of rusty steel planters with red, yellow and orange flowers such as dahlias, helenium and sunflowers, reminiscent of the old furnaces from nearby iron works. The plans also include pollinator-friendly planting to help boost local wildlife.

“It’s very encouraging to see the importance of community gardening being so widely recognised.” comments Patience Atkinson-Gregory of Amberol. “The plans for these spaces sound exciting, inspiring and inventive.”

Self-watering planters are often a great option for community gardens, offering flexibility and portability. Large floorstanding planters can be used to brighten up drab areas and are also well-suited to growing fruit and vegetables, as well as flowers and shrubs. In addition, our picnic tables and benches are perfect for creating social spaces to sit and gather. Graffiti resistant and manufactured from recycled materials, they also have great green credentials

For more information about any Amberol products, from litter bins to planters to picnic tables, call 01773 830 930 or email sales@amberol.co.uk.