Wednesday, October 12, 2011
It has been a year since I last visited Friary Gardens where people with disabilities are given horticultural training and participate in a wide range of gardening and crafting activities. I noticed many improvements to the site. There are two large polytunnels, one of which is heated, plant propagating units and a "mess" hut with amenities to make hot drinks and eat lunch. Old farm buildings are used to store materials and equipment, as well as housing a toilet block. There is a small project office and a shop. One walled garden incorporates display flowerbeds and a large vegetable growing area; the second walled garden is down to grass and is currently used for recreational and sporting activities. Last year the vegetable garden was left fallow which means no seeds were sown and nothing was planted. The benefits of this include rebalancing soil nutrients, re-establishing soil biota, breaking crop pest and disease cycles, and providing a haven for wildlife. It has obviously paid off because the crops this year are flourishing.