Cultivation Street is a national gardening campaign that celebrates and supports both community and school gardening projects across the UK. Now in its fifth year, it culminates each summer with a massive competition where the lucky winners will win a share of £20,000 in National Garden Gift Vouchers! Gardening together changes lives, neighbourhoods, and the land itself, and it is utterly inspiring to see what all of these fantastic communities across the UK are accomplishing every year and to get to share it with you!
This year’s campaign has been bigger and better than ever, and choosing the winners from the many hundreds of entries has been a serious challenge for our expert judges! But the results are in and we will be revealing the winners right here and in the Sunday Mirror over the next few weeks.
This week you can see the regional winners in the Community Garden category; next week will be our specialist categories of Front Gardens, Small Spaces, and Garden Centre Ambassadors; in a fortnight you will see our Cultivation School winners; and the following week will be our overall Community Garden grand winner!
The regional winners you see this week will win £500 each to spend on their projects, so read on and see what can be accomplished when communities garden together!
Midlands Regional Winner:
Masefield Community Garden
What was once a set of old, run down garages has been transformed into a volunteer-led community garden with a wild style. Their ethos is to grow well, eat well and move well – a true feel good garden.
“The Friends of Masefield Community Garden was formed in January 2012 with the support of Northfield Ecocentre, and was set-up to be used by the local community of all age groups.
The ecocentre saw the space as a great opportunity to engage the local community in learning about food growing, healthy eating and outdoor exercise. Due to unemployment in the area being high, volunteer opportunities would also give local people work experience and a sense of belonging.
The garden is not like a traditional garden, it is wilder, almost a permaculture set up. It has an earth oven, compost toilet, plastic bottle greenhouse, forest garden, forest school area, wildlife area and many growing beds.
We’re enabling local children to enjoy a safe outdoor space. Many children in the area would have not visited the countryside and learned about nature and the great outdoors.
Masefield Community Garden was overgrown and full of bricks, concrete and fly tipping back in 2012 when I first visited. To see the transformation is amazing, it has taken a lot of volunteer hours, blood, sweat and tears and get the garden where it is today.”
Jackie Careless, Masefield Community Garden
North Regional Winner:
Springwell Community Memory Garden
Volunteers from Silverline Memories have transformed an acre of space in just 18 months. It’s now a busy community garden used for those suffering with dementia and families living with the illness.
“The garden is just under an acre in size and had been abandoned and left in a derelict state for 5 years before its transformation over the last 18 months by Silverline Memories.
While asking at one of our weekly dementia cafes what activities people would like us to provide, a gentleman asked for an allotment. The idea spiralled into what is now the Springwell Community Memory garden, a much larger scale project than we had ever imagined and continues to develop with its own heartbeat.
We run a weekly dementia cafe from the Springwell Community Memory garden. The original plan for the garden was for a dementia garden to be used by people and their families living with dementia.
The garden is now also being used by the local community after the official opening of the Springwell Men’s Shed. This allows men to relax enjoying woodworking, gardening and art and crafts.
The garden is now full of colour and life, attracting a range of insects, bugs and wildlife. The local community have praised just how much the garden has changed and is now full of flowers and plants. Volunteers’ lives have been enriched by their time spent volunteering at the garden, not only from gardening but also socialising with a cup of tea.”
James Hill, Springwell Community Memory Garden
Scotland Regional Winner:
Shettleston Community Growing Project
In the urban heart of Glasgow this community garden has taken contaminated ground and turned it into both a productive growing space and a tranquil garden area for people of all ages.
“The growing project was set up in 2009 by local people who wished to grow food for themselves and their families. They wanted to turn the derelict and unloved space into an attractive and productive community allotment and orchard.
The garden is for everyone to enjoy, people from the local community to as far afield as Italy have all enjoyed the Garden and allotments. It is used by the children’s group we run called “The Smelly Welly Club”, the local girl guides, and also by potholders children when they come down to help. Local school children also enjoy the community gardens when onsite.
Due to soil contamination in the proposed orchard it was decided after consultation with local residents, to turn it into the community garden it is today. There was a need for this little piece of tranquillity in the area instead of the derelict piece of waste ground that used to stand here. A place for insects, wildlife and humans to enjoy for many years to come.
In the 6 years that the growing project has been around literally hundreds of volunteers and young people have at some point helped in the creation of the garden and allotments and made it what it is today.”
Kenny McCubbin, Shettleston Community Growing Project
South Regional Winner:
Sandown Castle Community Garden
Residents banded together to renovate a rundown area near the seafront of their town, creating a stunning tiered garden area that hosts local events and has become a local tourist attraction.
“We set up our community group in 2014 when we noticed what an overgrown mess our area had become. Our vision was to create an attractive display for our local community and visitors to find after a stroll along the seafront from the town. We have since converted our garden to include a mix of around 150 types of perennials.
We have also created a wild flower bed shaped like a butterfly with a place for birds to drink from, and have a donated boat which we’ve also planted up.
Our team of around 12-15 regular volunteers recycle everything that comes out of the garden either by re-homing plants or composting in our numerous compost bins.
We regularly raise funds to pay for plants and items we need by running events. Local community groups, the general public and local garden centres have made donations of funds or plants to us.
Our garden means everything to us and our community as it’s introduced us to new friends and helped us in both our physical and mental health. Our garden has also become a new tourist attraction in Deal with people visiting from all over the world.”
Linda Ford, Sandown Castle Community Garden
Wales & Northern Ireland Regional Winner:
Camelot Court Community Gardens
Starting with one weedy patch of gravel, the residents of Camelot Court, who have no real front gardens, are slowly transforming their neighbourhood, and making new friends and companions along the way.
“Our project began a couple of years ago when residents wanted to change the gravel patches that are outside our houses.
We don’t have our own front gardens and the community wanted to spruce up our area. We came together to use gardening as a way of socialising and exercise, and it’s definitely therapeutic too.
This simple idea became the source of an inspiring local project that has seen an unwelcoming walkway transformed into a floral haven that continues to spread, way beyond the original intention, creating new friendships along the way, and enjoyed by locals, their kids, passers-by and wildlife.
We divide perennials and share seed so there has been no cost so far except top soil. We are able to produce everything else ourselves. There is even a nettle patch which has been allowed to grow in order to brew our own liquid fertilizer. The gardens
are easy to manage as the plants act as natural weed suppressors and all divide up so easily to give us more plants. Others are left to self-seed. We even have some edibles, all gifted from friends, like raspberries, rosemary and marjoram.
It’s an informal project that has developed organically. All of us involved are very laid back and allow it to just evolve in its own time. It is simply the good, kind nature of the residents that has created the community garden and the social benefits are easily seen, particularly for the elderly residents who come out to talk and enjoy as we garden.”
Anna Symmonds, Camelot Court Community Gardens