RHS Garden Day first new RHS Community Garden announced

April 7th 2022

A community in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, will receive a wonderful new garden created by leading Garden Designer Arit Anderson as part of a new RHS Community Grant Scheme to create four new gardens, one in each of the Nations.

The RHS is creating the four new Community Gardens, one each in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, to share the joy of gardening as part of its celebrations for 2022 RHS Garden Day on Monday 2 May.

Huntingdon in Bloom, a Community Gardening Group, applied to the RHS Community Grant Scheme to build ‘Coneygear Park Community Growing Garden’ in a park owned by the local Town Council. The park is the main large open green space in a deprived area and is home to the Coneygear Community Centre. Although the park itself is busy, the area allocated for the new garden is currently unused.

During lockdown a ‘Natter Box’ project was created on the park, providing a small seating area in order to reduce social isolation across the local community. As a result of the pandemic, many community groups and local residents have become interested in gardens and gardening.

In their application for the community garden, Huntingdon in Bloom said it would like to create a sustainable community growing area for long term use for people to come together to establish and maintain a garden and social space; to grow fruit and vegetables for the Community Cafe and Oxmoor Community Fridge, and to share experiences and swap skills including cooking lessons with the produce.

The news was announced on BBC The One Show, on Tuesday 5 April at 7pm, with Radio DJ and keen gardener Jo Whiley letting the delighted community know.

Natasha Pierson, Coordinator of Huntingdon In Bloom said: “It means so much to this community to win this garden, designed by Arit. So many different groups use our community centre and having a beautiful space outside where different generations can meet and interact in a safe environment will be of huge benefit for mental, physical and social well-being. We feel incredibly lucky to have won such a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the local community to enjoy for years to come.

Arit Anderson, Garden Designer, said about her design: “When turning to nature for inspiration, bees and beehives came to mind. They represent interconnectedness, organisation, teamwork and dedication and it's these qualities that Huntingdon demonstrates, and I wanted to incorporate into their garden. The layout is based on hexagons.

Growing food was really important to this community so I’ve incorporated hexagonal raised beds of different heights for their growing area, so that people of varying ability and ages can work side by side. There are also spaces for lots of people to get together and interact as well as smaller more intimate seating areas. I’ve loved working with the people who will use this garden hearing their ideas and incorporating their wishes into the space to create something, that I hope, they love and enjoy for many years to come.

Once the garden has been created, it will be managed by a rota of community groups that use the park and neighbouring community centre. These include families, youth groups and senior citizens from 'Moody Mondays', 'Grub Hub', ‘Snack Shack’, 'Tepees of Hope' and 'Coneygear Seniors'.

The new Community Gardens will be central to the RHS celebrating and sharing the joy of gardening on RHS Garden Day, which will kick-start National Gardening Week. The RHS received hundreds of applications from across the UK and the Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Gardens will be announced in the coming weeks on BBC The One Show.

Source: RHS Press Release