Cultivation Street

Supporting community garden projects across the UK to change lives and the land they live on

Cultivation Street Stories

Cultivation Street is the national campaign to promote and support Britain’s community, schools and neighbourhood gardeners. And in five short years this dynamic campaign has now grown a thriving community of more than a thousand garden projects across the UK. What differentiates Cultivation Street is the strong community of gardeners who encourage and share their advice and guidance with each other.

There are lots of different garden designs and spaces all over the country. Maybe your struggling with the design of your garden or wondering how can I start a garden project? Here are five great stories taken from a large selection of different 2017 entries, that will help inspire you.

Dobbies Southport

Meet Zoe Stanmore, she’s one of our Cultivation Street ambassadors for Dobbies in Southport. Zoe loves to help people with their gardening projects, no matter the scale. Zoe’s proactive approach means that she has built fantastic relationships with the local community!

Zoe told me “It’s an honour to be a part of Cultivation Street and to be able to help people.” So much so Zoe started her own project to truly understand the challenge faced by community gardeners.

“I wanted to develop a derelict piece of land on our stores grounds for the local children, who attend our little seedlings club. Many of them do not have the space at home to grow or just a space to call their own.” Zoe explained.

As we talked, I found out the impact that the little seedlings club has on the community. “We gradually turned the derelict lot, into a space where the children can learn about the environment. They grow their own fruits and vegetables and take them home. It’s great to see the children gain confidence and responsibility for their own patches. As a group are all growing (sorry for the Horti pun) as we’re learning whilst creating this beautiful haven.”

Zoe explained to me why she became a Cultivation Street Ambassador “Working on this project has opened my eyes to lots of school and community groups that struggle with support whether that’s via funding or volunteers. I think that as an ambassador I benefit from being part of a network of people who can help each other. I now understand how hard it is to set up your own gardening project. And by helping people with even the smallest of things, like pots for planting, I’ve seen it make a big difference. So just give it a go, it’s so rewarding!”

Zoe has worked out what she wants to achieve over the next 12 months. “This year we are focusing on wildlife. We’re trying to recycle as much as possible and I have asked the children to find items to go into a massive bug hotel and womery. The whole garden is a hive for wildlife such as bees, dragonflies, birds, frogs and we’re so lucky to have had a Mallard with her baby ducklings. All this plus our resident robin who follows us for food!”

Tenby Day Care Centre

Check out this fantastic garden in Tenby that proves gardening really can keep you fit and healthy! Meet Sing Taylor who works at the centre to transform their outdoor space into a safe area for all to enjoy. Amazingly, gardeners here range from 46 – 97 years old!

Situated in Pembrokshire,  The Day Centre in Tenby, has had great fun developing a sensory garden for the elderly! The centre is thriving with enthusiasm since we introduced gardening as an activity. Elderly people have a lot of gardening knowledge and this makes the project so much fun and great way to learn new things.

When the weather is poor, we bring the planting indoors and we move the pots around on a trolley, sometimes using an odd wheelchair to move bags of compost. All of our beans are ready to go, the sweet peas are in and we even have banana and tea bag compost (bin) on the go. We recently created a Mediterranean area and are making a giant pumpkin patch to keep the interest of gardening into the autumn and winter.

Moss Side Urban Alley

A slightly unusual garden which uses innovative recycled planting ideas. Jo Campbell outlined her mission to rejuvenate the area of Moss Side Urban Alley!

“I moved into Moss Side 6 years ago. I set up a small group for residents so that we could all get to meet each other and organise a few social gatherings. It quickly became apparent to me that actually we all shared the same goal. We wanted to brighten up the urban landscape with flowers, shrubs and possibly even grow some food. We have long, narrow alleys which can be annoying and small gardens to the rear of the houses so we’re going to have to be creative!”

As we chatted some more, Jo explained some of the challenges she’s faced “We have a rather large community of cats that are loved and adored but pose a certain problem regarding their toilet habits! Around 2 years in, despite some challenges with neighbours, we pushed on.”

“We held community events and gave out free hanging baskets and plants whilst a few of us ran around the streets drilling for the brackets to go up. It is still apparent that my alley poses the greatest challenge. Using my creative side, tat which normally lies dormant got me really fired up to give up-cycling a go. I’ve started to use of some of the dumped items and turned them into flower beds and I can happily say that things have improved a lot.”

“So, onwards and upwards we go!”

Wild Wooldale Buddies

Meet Graeme Lock, his Buddies and their fantastic school garden in West Yorkshire! He explained to me the journey of their school garden.

“I created our small gardening group a few years ago to provide a nurturing environment for pupils of Wooldale Junior School. Our aim was to help pupils develop self-confidence. They would become responsive to others and immerse themselves in a natural setting whilst engaging in positive outdoor activities.”

“The WWB (Wild Wooldale Buddies) have looked at ways to become more self-sufficient. I have created a new composting culture within our school so that the catering staff, teaching staff and pupils can compost their organic waste materials. We have been instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of healthy eating. And this has helped to improve healthy food practices throughout school. The commitment shown by the gardening nurture group has seen us improve our outdoor spaces and the environment around the school grounds. Areas have been identified which have been neglected or were unused to create new vibrant growing areas! With their newly acquired horticultural skills the Buddies continue to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of all the pupils at Wooldale Junior School.”

Camelot Gardens

Take a look at Anna Symmonds’s garden story and see how she inspired others to transform their surrounding area in Newport!

“Our project began a couple of years ago, when I offered to plant up a gravel patch outside my neighbour’s house. It had fallen into a state of disrepair and was full of weeds. This formed part of the view from my kitchen when the back gate was open. After chatting to my neighbour, he was more than happy for me to plant up the space, so together we got to work!”

“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 with neighbours, Camelot Gardens is enjoyed by locals, their kids, passer-by’s and of course wildlife!” Anna explained.

We discussed more of her plans and how she went about carrying them out. “The only plan I had was a vague idea to use plants and materials that were to hand, spending little to no money! Soon the neighbours asked if I could do their gravel beds too and local people stopped to say how nice it was. It was lovely to then watch other neighbours start their own work on the beds outside their homes. We started to work together to share plants and create floriferous spaces. The only cost so far has been topsoil, we’re keeping it pretty low! 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 fertiliser.”

“The gardens are easy to manage as the plants act as natural weed suppressors and all divide up so easily to share and give us more plants. We truly are a community thanks to this garden project. Transformed from a once uninviting grey walkway into a colourful, vibrant, pleasant floral space that blooms from January’s snowdrops, Camelot Gardens brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

Do you have a fantastic garden project and fancy your chances of winning a share of £20,000 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers? Then what are you waiting for…

Enter Cultivation Street Today!

2 Comments

  1. Hattie B on January 27, 2018 at 8:52 am

    This is fabulously encouraging. For years I’ve had in the back of my mind to set up a local project to bring people together for mutual benefit in relation to gardening: those with more garden than they can manage but with the know-how and those with no garden but wanting to learn and able to offer help in return for the experience and lessons. I don’t know if anyone’s set up something like that somewhere but would be delighted if so. In these times when gardens seem to be shrinking on new developments and bigger older gardens tend to get built on in some areas, I think anything which helps people to realise the great value of gardening to health, wellbeing and happiness – especially organic methods of growing and eating – to one and all, to wildlife and to the environment, must be supported and enjoyed. May your projects live long and prosper! Best of luck.

    • Alice Whitehouse on February 15, 2018 at 10:14 am

      Hi Hattie,
      That is great, please drop us an email as we may be able to link you up with a local garden or help you set your own up.
      The Cultivation Street team

Leave a Comment