This Week’s Guest Blogger is Peter Welsh, co-founder of Tadpole Garden Village

‘The Greenhouse Project’

Neighbours and Friends, Stu Olden & Pete Welsh co-founded Tadpole Garden Village (TGV) In Bloom. TGV is a brand-new garden village concept set on the northern outskirts of Swindon, a stones throw from the Cotswolds.

Peter Walsh and Stu Olden flanked by two volunteers

A strong community foundation, both Stu – Ex Army and Pete – Currently serving in the RAF, wanted to bring the community together through the RHS three pillars; Horticulture, Environment and Community. This concept would encourage people of all ages and abilities to take pride in where they live.
A community allotment plot saw the group grow on plants, fruit and vegetables for village planters, homeless soup kitchens, nursing homes and local charities. With two storms and two temporary greenhouses lost to the elements it was time for something with a bit more structure and space!
A £5,000 grant was successfully awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund which was set aside to build a greenhouse on the community allotment plot.

Our volunteers building the base on the unused allotment plot

Our volunteers worked the ground, built the base and created the look it has today. We wanted to appeal to all ages and abilities and prove that Gardening and an allotment was accessible to all.
The Greenhouse has a ramped access, our ‘living path’ is decorated with alpines and herbs and our rest area has space for a wheelchair to turn. Both were built with donated patio slabs that allows access to a wheelchair to run along the path. A local grant allowed us to purchase a custom-built ND Rhodes reduced mobility potting bench.
Although our plot is accessible to those with reduced mobility you will find small steps, stony ground or wood chippings. These allow people to improve their motor function and gives them progression.

Andy working on the reduced access path around the greenhouse

Though it’s not just the physical challenges. Mentally and socially the Gardening club allows interaction on the plot, it allows people the space and time for reflection, for quiet or for teamwork, for interaction – it simply gives people access to greenspace and a learning environment should they wish.

The National Lottery Funded Community greenhouse and allotment plot  – ‘living’ path, ramp access, rest area and wheelchair accessible path

A project that cost an estimated £10,000 has been completed with funding, donations and kind offers from local businesses. More importantly it has been completed by a team of volunteers of all ages and abilities.
COVID may have slowed us down, but it hasn’t dampened our spirits!

The reduced mobility potting bench – custom made by NB Rhodes funded by the Wiltshire Community Fund

This Week’s Guest Blogger is Nikki Cooper, Owner of Old Hogden, seeds straight from the potting shed, the heart of the garden

The Herb Garden

I always think that the best part of the vegetable patch is the herbs.  How nice it is to cook a meal; suddenly realize you need thyme and oregano.  Out the back door, to that special spot to tweak some leaves, giving magic to your food.

Yes flavour, but so many other things as well.  Herbs have many healing properties.  Take chives for instance.  They are antibacterial and a great circulatory stimulant.  Chopped up in scrambled eggs, added to sour cream and butter on a baked potato – it’s enough to make your mouth water!

Parsley is another great herb.  It is quite slow to germinate, sometimes taking 6 weeks to pop through the earth, but once up you have a tasty herb that is around for a full two years and gives far more than it takes, being full of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and magnesium, just to name a few.  Brilliant anti-inflammatory and antihistamine, so makes a good herbal tea in the hay fever season.

Herbs are easy to grow.  Mostly they are best started off in small pots on a sunny windowsill.  Basil loves warmth, so I always start mine off in the airing cupboard.  Water it, then cover in cling film to make a ‘mini greenhouse’.  Just don’t do what I did and forget about it.

My favourite thing is to give all the herbs a full on ‘haircut’ around July/August time.  I have a large sieve that I got a long time ago.  All the herb cuttings go in here and then they sit in the airing cupboard until I get round to seeing to them. Pop them in a blender, taking out any large tough stalks first and add a good dosing of celery salt. This makes an amazing condiment for the table as a replacement for salt, giving flavour and good heath all round.

If you are interested in receiving my catalogue and garden journal, please email me at info@oldhogden.com or visit my website at http://www.oldhogden.com