Plants nurtured by a small Northampton garden centre have won the team an unexpected Gold award at BBC Gardeners’ World live.
More than 50 people who attend Workbridge – a centre which offers vocational opportunities to people with a variety of mental health needs – helped cultivate hundreds of bedding plants that were planted in ‘The Nostalgia Garden’ at Gardeners' World Live 2017. The green-fingered team featured inpatients from St Andrew’s Healthcare and Workbridge service users from the local community, and included gardeners with learning disabilities, autism and brain injuries.
On display at Birmingham NEC last week (and featured on BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World television programme*), The Nostalgia Garden was just one of nine gardens at the event which won Gold. Designed by landscape designer Paul Stone, the garden embraced the look and feel of the ‘60s, featuring a period garage, fuel pumps and even a classic 1960’s Mini Cooper. The garden was commissioned by the BBC and wasn’t expected to be part of the judges’ deliberations; however the St Andrew’s team were thrilled when their work was recognised with a Gold award.
Workbridge Service Manager, Chloe Dowell commented: “We weren’t actually expecting there to be any award given to this garden as it wasn’t part of the competition. However my understanding having spoken to Paul is that it was still awarded a gold anyway – which was a real surprise to him as well – because the judges wanted to reflect the hard work that had gone into it and to celebrate the fact that it is a fantastic garden. So it’s even better, showing all of our service users, that this is what your hard work was for – creating this amazing show garden – and even better than that, it’s a gold-winning show garden.”
Chloe recently spoke to BBC Radio Northampton’s John Griff about The Nostalgia Garden and St Andrew’s involvement; to listen to the radio feature, click here (starts 33 minutes approximately).
Workbridge is part of St Andrew’s, a charity which provides specialist mental healthcare for patients with some of the most complex, challenging mental health needs in the UK. A vocational training centre, Workbridge gives service users from the community as well as inpatients of St Andrew’s an opportunity to gain work and life skills in a real work environment. To find out more, visit the Workbridge website. Find out more about landscape designer Paul Stone here.
*The Nostalgia Garden was featured on BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World (2017, episode 13), first broadcast on Friday 16 June 2017; to watch again, click here. The garden is featured from 2 minutes 40 approximately.