From sowing seeds at Ashfield Gardens to Gardeners World!

From sowing seeds at Ashfield Gardens to Gardeners World!

Ashfield Gardens, Stourbridge

Earlier in the year at a local Growing up Green event I met a lady called Rachel Wells that runs a local horticultural company with her business partner Helen Kelly called Hortulani.

Rachel and I got chatting and Rachel told me that they were going to be having an exhibition stand at the Gardeners World show. From this conversation, it was suggested that Ashfield Gardens help Hortulani to grow some plants for the show.

The aim of Hortulani’s exhibition stand was to show pollinating plants that would create a border to encourage bees, moths and butterflies. The stand called “A Shared Chrysalis”, incorporated habitats for each stage of development including plants, water and resting areas for the bees, moths and butterflies. 

People who attended day placements at Ashfield Gardens sowed a variety of seeds including Borage and Scabious and then nurtured them until they were big enough to be planted into the exhibition stand at Gardeners World. 

In return, and as a “Thank you for helping”, we were given 10 free tickets to the show

Visit to Gardeners World at the NEC

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On Thursday 15 June, three staff, one volunteer and six people we support who had taken part in growing and nurturing the seeds, attended the show. A wonderful day was had by all, and there was a real sense of achievement seeing how the exhibition made by Hortulani had come together. 

What’s more, we were all delighted to find out that Hortulani had won a gold award for their stand! 

We were all immensely proud of seeing this all come together and to see the plants that we had grown from tiny seeds. 

Steven, one of the  people we support at the garden said  –“It was an incredible experience. It was amazing to meet Adam Frost and get his picture and autograph that I will show my family. I really enjoyed it, and it was lovely to go as a group and to see the plants we had grown”

Michelle, who we also support at the garden said – “I really enjoyed myself at the NEC and seeing all of the nice celebrities and the people and the stalls. I would love to go again. Thank you Emma, Jenny, Poppy and Keith for taking me and I had a fabulous time. It was amazing”

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The design looked amazing all together and I am really thankful and grateful that the people from Ashfield could be involved in this amazing opportunity. Everyone had a brilliant day, and I would love for us to do this again in the future. It has been an honour to work with Helen and Rachel from Hortulani and we hope that this might be the start of a new and exciting venture”

The experience

Emma Johnson Horticulture Lead at Ashfield Gardens said “It was so exciting to see our plants in Rachel and Helen’s build and getting to chat with them on the day. It was great to be around all of the colourful plants and the other exhibitors and sharing the experience with all of our beneficiaries. We had such a great time.”

We spent the whole day at the show and saw some amazing stalls and exhibition pieces that were really creative and inspiring.  We also saw a few famous people including Monty Don, Alan Titchmarsh and we met and got autographs off Gardeners World host Adam Frost which was all really exciting. 

We do hope that this is only the start of us entering and attending such shows as it was enjoyed by all and really instilled a sense of pride and achievement. 

Once the show finished, plants that we have grown were donated to Sandwell General Hospital for a sensory garden. 

“I am so delighted that we could get involved in growing some of the plants that have been used in Rachel and Helen’s beautiful piece of work “A Shared Chrysalis” 

Jenny Cadman

Social Farm & Garden Manager – Ashfield Social Farm & Gardens

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