Residential and Community Gardening
The Bath in Bloom competition
The Bath in Bloom competition first started back in the 1960’s but was completely different in format to the competition we have today. There was no need to enter, and judges toured the city giving prizes mainly to businesses as they saw fit.
Today we have a panel of 12 volunteer judges, overseeing 14 categories, the competition is open to everyone in Bath and North East Somerset. All administration is done by volunteers working in partnership with Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Attracting over 100 entries a year, we try to get every category sponsored by small businesses or individuals. We organise a gala presentation evening in the Guildhall for the winners, sponsored by Bath Charter Trustees.
Formed in 2011, the Chandler Rangers are made up of children between 4 and 11 who live in and around Chandler Close in Weston. They meet regularly to decide what needs to be done, and recent activities have included litterpicking, leaf clearing and helping to create a community garden.
They were started as a way to provide young people in the area with something positive to do and to help to break through misconceptions that can exist across the generations. They have taken part in cream teas and dances, and been taught how to make bread by their older neighbours.
Curo Community Initiatives Officer, Jo Bellotti, said:
‘Their group is a great example of the kind of community-led initiative that can make real and lasting differences to people’s neighbourhoods.’
‘Grow Your Own’
Alice Park Community Garden first began in 2010 when a local resident and member of Transition Larkhall discovered a piece of waste ground in an 8-acre park, east of the city. Recognising its potential, she obtained permission from the Council, and together with other members of Transition Larkhall, created raised vegetable beds, fruit trees, a social area with log seating and a wildlife pond. It is regularly used for community and educational activities, and the volunteers have now secured £20,000 from the Big Lottery’s Community Spaces Fund to develop it further. a new path for disabled access has been built as has a sensory garden and a green oak shelter built by the local community and local students.
Monksdale Road Plot and Grow Snowhill
An enthusiastic horticultural ‘mum’ started this project to encourage people to learn about growing local food and to socialise together – particularly the parents of young children. Several action days have been organised, with craft activities to keep children occupied when they’re not helping to dig!
The project at Monksdale Road allotments, in the south of the city, was such a success that the same team is replicating it on a piece of ground at Snowhill to the east of the city. Both areas have high levels of social housing, and the team have focussed on produce that is easy to grow but expensive to buy, such as beetroot and salad leaves. Cookery sessions utilising the produce are also being planned.
Bath now has 24 allotment sites. Waiting lists for plots have reduced in the last two years, and new sites are due to open in the next year. A recent survey revealed that a high proportion of our allotment holders work their plots on organic principles. Bath and North East Somerset Council has designated Lower Common West and Hampton Row all-organic sites. Bath Organic Group have a community garden at Lower Common allotments, which is run on organic principles and produces a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables. The site also contains a cut flower garden, an apple orchard, a herb garden and invites many clubs for educational visits.
For many years, Bath Allotments Association and Bath Organic Group have been promoting allotments in Bath, the gardening interests of its members and supplying seeds and sundries from a trading hut.
Bath and North East Somerset Council has been working in partnership with Somer Community Housing Trust to promote cultivation of unused land, particularly in areas of greater need, and to encourage residents to grow their own vegetables for a minimal budget.
The Bath Area Garden Share Project
The Bath Area Garden Share project has been set up as a solution to the long waiting list for allotments in the area. The project is the initiative of Transition Bath, working with Bath and North East Somerset Allotments Association and Bath Organic Group. Supply of gardens has exceeded demand. Bath and North East Somerset Council is bringing the scheme to the awareness of allotment plot applicants with the aim of reducing waiting lists. Three other sites have been created and handed over for community allotment users around the city, allowing people to learn and enjoy gardening.
Monksdale Road allotments for people with disabilities
The Ecotherapy Allotment beds at Monksdale Road have been very successful and due to the popularity of this site, another has been built in Westfield, and is now enjoying similar success. Facilities for shared use include a polytunnel and a shed made from timber recycled from our Botanical Gardens. Two NHS horticultural therapists are on site five days a week, and the Council’s Parks and Green Spaces Team collaborate with Avon and Somerset Probation Service for site reparation works, via community service, such as weed clearance and helping plot holders with difficulties to dig their plots.