Growing Spaces: The Spring Bank Arts Centre Pollinator Garden

We know many of you are keen to grow things, whether for food or wildlife; this is the reason we’ll be launching the Growing Spaces project shortly with a public meeting on the evening of Thursday 28th November (more on this soon).

Some Transition New Mills members have already been getting stuck in though: here’s the inspiring story from Jill Hulme about how Transition teamed up with St James Arts Centre and New Mills School to make the most of a small patch of land at St. James’; turning it into something both beautiful and useful.

In the beginning……..

When the builders handed over the beautifully restored building in 2012 there was a tidy little lawn at the front. Following conversations at the Transition Food Group we formed the idea to rip out the lawn and plant up with something more useful. Food production was considered but the pollinator theme won hands down.

The Arts Centre Trust was delighted with our proposal and gave the go ahead. A third partner, New Mills High School, was invited to join in since they have a first class plant supply business. In addition we were keen to involve local young people. So, our pretty garden is the result of a community effort between Spring Bank Arts , Transition New Mills and New Mills High School.

It is here to make the area beautiful and to provide food for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. Without our friends, the bees, we would not get any of these favourite foods:
Apples, plums, pears, damsons, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, black currants, gooseberries and many more. What about the vegetables? Don’t forget courgettes, cucumber, tomato, peas, mange-tout, French beans, squash, and your halloween pumpkin.

Getting our boots on…..

New Mills High School produced a wonderful design. School grew a delightful collection of flowering plants in their own nursery. A planting day in May 2013 with students, staff and volunteers working hard together, got all our little plants nestled into their new home ready for summer. Volunteers have maintained the garden and put in some extra plants from their own gardens.

Come over to inspect the garden and see how many plants you recognise. There is a full name list, with photographs, inside the Arts Centre. Feel free to walk in and take a look.

And for the next steps………..

There are more plants to go in. Some ideas include Dwarf apple trees, spring bulbs, climbing plants along the wall, lavender in the gravel area by the main door. What do you think?

We hope everyone who passes by enjoys this garden. Perhaps you can take some of these ideas into your own garden or yard. A small bed, or a just few tubs, can be given over to plants for bees and butterflies where you live. Soon we will put more information on our website so you can find out more about bee-friendly gardening. Let’s make New Mills the pollinator capital of England!
If you want to get involved with maintaining this garden and developing it further we’d love to hear from you.


Jill Hulme.

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