It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally got planning permission to turn a small parcel of land into a community garden in Farnworth, Bolton.
Initial clearing and digging of pathways was done by a group of fabulous Prince’s Trust lads. We then got Ambec Fencing to come along and install a new fence along the front and back borders of the property. The right hand-side faces onto a cricket club and on the left is Bolton at Home residential housing.
The project has been funded by Symphony Housing and is going to create a garden filled with lots of things including a playhouse, raised beds for growing vegetables, composting area, sitting areas, flower beds and fruit trees. However there’s lots of digging and landscaping to be done first made much harder by the fact that a rubbish tip and half a housing estate seems to be buried under the ground! Digging goes something like this… put your spade in an inch, hit something, dig around the two bricks you’ve struck, remove them, try putting your spade in again, hit something different this time, discover a black bin bag of rubbish, dig it out, try again and hey presto – you finally get to something resembling soil!
We’ll also be creating some art with local communities to put in the garden – this is likely to include mosaics and withy sculptures. Alongside this, we’ll be creating a film about the process which will include some timelapse. some animation and also some interviews with our willing volunteers and other local people.
Following two weeks of hard slog in the rain at the RHS Tatton Flower Show, we have been awarded a silver medal for our show garden ‘A Year in the Life of the DreamScheme’. The culmination of 12 months of work and preparation, the garden shows the young peoples’ journey through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter using colour, texture, planting and artwork to recreate the seasons.
Myself and Peter Castle worked with young people from New Charter estates to interpret their ideas and designs and turn them into a show garden. Using a circular format as the starting point, we designed each section to represent one season looking at overall effect, impact, the relationship between the seasons and plant associations. Our final plant list included over 100 different types of plants totalling almost 1000 individual specimens.
Once on site, the hard physicial work began, with the hard landscaping and building happening first, followed by laying out and lots (trust me – lots) of digging, then planting. The finishing touches included placing all the artwork made by the young people (mosaic slabs, withy sculptures, Colin the mosaic corgi etc), checking over plants and trees and dressing the garden.
Achieving a silver medal for a first attempt at a show garden is a massive achievement, so we are all incredibly pleased. New Charter received a bronze medal for their first show garden in 2010, so the pressure was on to gain an equivalent or better rating!
Next year, we thought we’d give the silver gilt medal a miss and just go straight for gold..!