A year ago, with the blessing and generosity of Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council, we started renovating a small nursery within Rockley Park, the beautiful memorial park in Radcliffe on Trent.
Twelve months on, the three greenhouses are bursting with life, and plants that we have grown from seed have been seen by thousands - in Radcliffe on Trent village, and in the planting towers and beds in Bridgford Park and the Civic Centre.
The Streetwise Environmental / Cityscape Greening / Rockley Park project was conceived last summer. The nursery had become neglected through lack of use, and the space was perfect for us to use to propagate and grow plants for the many planting schemes for which we are responsible.
During the autumn and winter of 2015 we cleaned, renovated, pointed and re-glazed, bringing the nursery back to life, all ready for the spring growing season.
In March and April, we starting sowing seeds for summer bedding. Our own nursery has given us greater flexibility in terms of the plants we use for our schemes, so this summer residents and visitors have enjoyed a much wider range of plants including Verbena, Lobelia, Pelargonium, Salvia, Cosmos, Dahlia, Fuschia, cow parsley and various interesting grasses. Our planting schemes are just that bit different - and the plants we've used are insect friendly, better pollinators, and less formal than the summer bedding more traditionally found in council planting schemes. Feedback has been hugely encouraging, so we're now making plans for the next season, and daring to be a little different.
In return for the generosity of Radcliffe on Trent, we have been providing the village with plants for their own use. And we have also grown vegetable plants for a community allotment. Villagers have been enjoying a 'freegan' diet of runner beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, radish, courgettes, beetroot and lettuce this summer!
Billy Wragg of Streetwise Environmental, our most experienced gardener, has day to day care of the nursery, and for planning the planting schemes. Assisted by a few of our horticultural apprentices he is now planning the winter sowing, picking out, potting on, and tidying up after a busy and productive summer.
He's also growing herbaceous plants with a view to rejuvenating some of the shrub beds and borders, and making them more interesting.
Other plans we have for the nursery include widening the scope of the project, and with the support of Cityscape Greening, inviting other groups to use the nursery for educational purposes, perhaps training the long term unemployed in new skills and helping them back into work.
We love the collaborations and partnerships that have come about through this project. Working together with Rachel Cameron of Cityscape Greening, Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council, village residents and the community allotment has been a wonderful coming together of local businesses and communities, while it has resulted in fabulous displays for the benefit of local residents and visitors alike.
MD, Streetwise Environmental