Community Garden Project Growing For Gold
Chelford TARA's Community Garden Project had a busy time over the Spring and Early Summer Period. Some interesting facts:
- It raised over 1,000 plants from seed or by growing on plug plants, this included 160 Dwarf sunflowers grown from seed.
- Plant sales were held in the Spring and also at the Summer Garden Party at the Hall @ Marthall. The sale of "spare" plants helps bring in income to buy pots, further plants and seeds and of course the many, many bags of compost used!
- Hundreds of plants were planted in various locations in the neighbourhood including the new planter on the corner of Elmstead Road and Dixon Drive, re- vamping the Jubilee Garden in the entrance of Astle Court, revitalising areas of Communal gardens at Astle Court and the bed under the trees on the corner of Dixon Drive and Elmstead Road. We hope you like the results and can see a difference.
- We estimate that over 700 hours of voluntary work has been put in over the last 3 months by volunteers including watering, planting, potting on, labelling, selling, weeding and maintaining the greenhouse. This equates to an equivalent "salary" of approximately £4,400 at minimum wage or nearly £18,000 per year. All this work is undertaken by keen volunteers to enhance our community.
- We've noticed a great effort from the community this year with lots of beautiful gardens and pots. Even a simple pot of sunflowers can make a difference
Although our main aim is to enhance our local community it is nice for recognition for the work that is put in! That's why we entered the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) "It's Your Neighbourhood Award" for the second year. Last year saw us gaining a Level 3 Award which was a great achievement as we had only be running around 6 months! This year we hope that we can gain the few extra marks to take us to Level 4 (out of 5).
The celebration of 50 years of the RHS with a theme of "Growing for Gold" was hopefully captured in our plantings and display outside the Community Room.
Enormous thanks to Iris Ryder's daughter and son in law, Christine and Terry, for their fantastic scarecrows (bet you still think there is someone stood outside as you pass!)
Prior to judging a "Spick & Span" day was held and we are extremely grateful for Peak Property staff and Jaime Hyde, Neighbourhood Officer and all the residents who helped on the day. This is not forgetting individuals who made the final touches to their own gardens.
People keep asking how we got on after the judging... unfortunately we do not get to know until October, when the RHS announce the winners at a celebration in Southport. However the judges did comment that their was a vast improvement from last year and the tableau outside the Community Room was the best interpretation and theme to celebrate 50 years that they had seen to date on their judging visits.
They'd like us to try to encourage more people in Elmstead Road bungalows to grow a few plants or pots outside the front of their bungalows to brighten the area up. The Garden Club are planning how we can help people with this if they need help.
Although the RHS Award is an achievement to the community, what really matters is the impact on residents lives, we publish a copy of one we received below:
"Today for once the sun is about to shine (I hope) and I am sitting outside my home thinking about the last 12 months, and how sad we were and still are as a family having lost the nicest man you could have ever known, my husband of 63 years Bill.
However when I look at the wonderful garden in front of me and think of all the hard work my friends have put in and worked so very, very hard; you have no idea how much I appreciate looking at this lovely display.
Kew Gardens have nothing on Chelford.
Well done to all the Garden Club members and thank you so very much for cheering me up
Iris Ryder, Astle Court"
The Real benefits to our Community of a Community Garden Project
Recent research has highlighted the real importance of gardens and open spaces to all people and in particular older persons:
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Chelford Community Hub, Elmstead Road