Sandside Lodge is a special school catering for pupils aged between two and nineteen who have a statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan. All pupils have learning difficulties and many have additional and complex needs such as autism, physical disabilities and sensory impairments.
All members of this year’s team have completed their Foundation Degree in Garden and Landscape Design and most will progress onto our BSc (Hons) in Landscape Design and Management (one year top-up).
Every member has brought individual talents to the team and has worked on different elements of the garden. Bringing it all together has been the biggest challenge – visit us at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (F 281 in the FEAST zone) to see how we’ve got on.
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park runs from Wed July 23rd (members only) to Sunday July 27th.
Ambition: Landscape architect
Lives in: Nantwich
Anife came to Britain from Bulgaria six years ago to further her education. Passionately interested in nature and science and also in art and design, she hopes eventually to work for a blue chip company which shares her vision of a shared partnership between plants, people and design.
Anife completed part-time RHS Level 1 Certificate in Horticulture and BTEC Advanced Certificate in Garden Design courses before moving up onto our Foundation Degree. Brought up growing her own organic food, she has been very much at home helping with this year’s theme of ‘feast’.
Anife says: “Being a member of the build team has been fantastic. I’ve loved meeting the sponsors, communicating with them and helping to bring their ideas to life.”
Ambition: NHS health advisor / Community project manager
Lives in: Macclesfield
Kim worked in financial services for 16 years before retraining to become a teaching assistant for primary pupils with special needs. She moved into adult learning support, first at Macclesfield College and then at Styal Prison.
She was seconded onto Styal’s show garden build team for RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2013 and found the whole project fascinating, particularly the way it promoted responsibility, respect and support within the team.
Keen to further her interest in ways that horticulture can support well being, Kim recalls: “The garden build gave the team members focus away from their tightly programmed daily lives in prison, allowing them to spend key time out of doors and to mix socially. As a result many became calmer and were able to reduce their medication.”
Ambition: Landscape architect
Lives in: Antrobus, Northwich
Dave has continued to work part time on his family’s arable farm while studying to further his interest in the natural environment.
Considering continuing onto a Masters in Landscape Architecture after his BSc degree, Dave says: “Food growing, farming and environmental design are all connected. The effect that the built landscape has on our countryside is becoming increasingly important, particularly as new buildings tend to be big, modern structures which stand out.”
Ambition: Garden designer
Lives in: Wallasey, Wirral
Always interested in a career in horticulture, Rob gained five years of experience with a landscape gardening company and is now employed as a customer advisor at the Homebase Garden Centre in Bromborough.
He completed a two year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture at Reaseheath before continuing onto our Foundation Degree and has combined studying with working throughout.
Particularly interested in garden design, Rob is looking forward to working for a large company where he can unleash his talents on a wide range of designs.
A first timer on our design and build team, Rob says: “I’ve loved the opportunity to see the whole process, from conception to completion.”
Ambition: Horticulturist at one of Australia’s botanical gardens
Lives in: Middlewich
Soon to start his sixth year of studies at Reaseheath, Tom has worked his way up to degree level via our Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture and our Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture which included work experience at Trentham Gardens and a two month placement at Tatton Park.
He’s worked for Cranage Nurseries since he was 15 and also at Minshulls Garden Centre in Crewe for two years, using the time to extend his knowledge of plants and planting. He’s already started his own garden maintenance business and plans to expand into hard landscaping.
Eventually Tom would love to work in one of Australia’s famous botanical gardens or alternatively join a leading UK landscape company.
Another of our first time builders, Tom says: “During the second year of my degree I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my ability to design. I’m now looking forward to seeing how the project management works at RHS Tatton.”
Ambition: CAD lecturer specialising in horticulture
Lives in: Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales
Our CAD supremo, Chris already had a mechanical engineering background in Computer Aided Design and has quickly transferred his skills from vehicles to gardens. He’s also grown up surrounded by farms and communities who grow their own food, so A Taste of Wythenshawe has been a perfect project for him.
He’s particularly enjoyed creating 3D visualisation of gardens during his course and would like to progress onto commercial projects and possibly public commissions before moving into teaching.
Another first time builder, Chris says: “I’ve really enjoyed helping to make sure the computer model is graphically correct, then seeing it become live. I’d like to think that computer modelling gives more precision and speed to the design process and that the end result is better.”
Ambition: Landscape architect
Lives in: Crewe
Christian has found that our Foundation Degree in Gardens and Landscape Design offers the perfect combination of plants and design.
He already had an ‘A’ level in graphic communications when he came to us plus a keen interest in plants and an appreciation of nature.
Christian particularly likes naturalistic design using sustainable methods and has really enjoyed figuring out how to make the hydroponics work for our show garden.
He says: “The whole Tatton experience has been amazing. I’m hoping that our garden and its ‘grow your own’ message will encourage visitors to think more about community gardening.”
Ambition: Community care for the elderly
Live in: Heswall, Wirral
Jean has a well established garden maintenance business, based within a population which has a high number of retirees.
As a result she has become increasingly involved in finding solutions for elderly residents who want to remain in their own homes but find their current gardens too difficult to manage. Redesigning the garden to suit a less active lifestyle is one option, finding a sharer to help with the heavier tasks is another..but Jean has gone one step further by introducing popular plants from the past to help bring back memories.
Jean says: “It’s important that we don’t overlook the social side of gardening, particularly when it involves older people. With a little thought and pre-planning we can encourage the older gardener to remain active and engaged and this can be hugely beneficial to their overall health.”
Jean, who achieved a Diploma in Town Planning during an earlier career, has found her return to learning to be enjoyable. She completed an RHS Level 2 Certificate in Horticulture and followed this with a 16 week BTEC in Garden Design before opting to study for a degree.
She helped plant up our show garden at RHS Tatton last year and has been involved with planting this year along with some project management. She’s now looking forward to chatting to visitors and seeing their reaction to our garden.
Ambition: Garden designer
Lives in: Alderley Edge
Off to Canada in August, Tom hopes to work as a garden designer for 12 months and after that…who knows???
Apart from working towards setting up his own garden design and maintenance business, multi talented Tom is also a part-time musician and a part-time ski instructor at the Chill Factore, Manchester’s indoor ski centre.
He likes working out of doors and enjoys art and design, so a career in garden design ticks both boxes. This is his second year on a Reaseheath design and build team at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.
Says Tom: “Tatton is one of the biggest things I’ve done. It’s a great opportunity to get involved with a professional show build and looks great on my CV.”
Ambition: Garden designer
Lives in: Wilmslow
Fergal came to Reaseheath after ‘A’ levels to do his Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture and has progressed from there onto our Foundation Degree in Garden and Landscape Design.
While a Level 3 student he was selected to represent Reaseheath in the qualifying round of the WorldsSkills UK garden landscape competition, an invaluable experience which has stood him in good stead ever since. He’s used his degree course to build on his practical skills and has also learned a range of design and planting techniques.
Fergal says: “The best part of the course is being involved in RHS Flower Show Tatton Park. The prestige and reputation of the event is awesome and it’s amazing being part of the design and build team.”
A truly edible show garden, A Taste of Wythenshawe celebrates the success of community health and welfare programmes led by sponsors the Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG).
Designed and built by Foundation Degree Garden and Landscape Design students from Reaseheath College and on display next week at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, the garden incorporates innovative and creative approaches to growing edible plants suitable for a 21st century urban community.
Its inspiration is Real Food Wythenshawe, a five year £1 million Big Lottery-funded community food campaign led by WCHG which promotes ways that people can grow their own fruit and vegetables and cook healthy, economical meals.
After the show the garden will be rebuilt in Wythenshawe Park, where it will be shared by the local community. The re-instatement will be carried out by members of the Turnaround team, a programme developed by WCHG to offer training and potentially employment opportunities to those with criminal records.
All team members have been trained by Reaseheath College and have successfully gained their NPTC Level 2 horticulture award. One member, Stephen Cleator, is now employed in WCHG’s grounds maintenance department.
The Turnaround team assisted in the show build and the local community were involved in pre-show planning and development.
Said WCHG Chief Executive Nigel Wilson: “The Real Food Wythenshawe campaign supports and encourages residents to take control over what they and their families eat. It demonstrates that healthy eating is possible for everyone, regardless of age, budget, ability or time constraints. In the same way, the garden promotes growing and eating home grown produce and, at the same time, reducing food miles and carbon footprint.
“We are delighted to be partnering Reaseheath College with this innovative show garden and even more excited about the prospect of bringing it back home to Wythenshawe. The icing on the cake, for us, is that the Turnaround team are playing a central role in this truly community based project.”
A Taste of Wythenshawe is in the Feast zone, an area which celebrates fresh produce and the joy of growing and cooking home grown food. Cookery demonstrations will take place in the zone using vegetables and fruit from the plot.
The garden design uses interlocking segments to form a crescent shape which mirrors the layout of Wythenshawe’s original garden city. It reflects the concept of the ‘three magnets’: Countryside as an edible ‘forest garden’, Town as a community seat and eat area and Town/Country, a community garden combining edible and ornamental planting. Tramlines represent the connection of Wythenshawe to Manchester through expansion of the Metrolink.
Hydroponics, an aeroponic tower and sculptural features such as rebar trees made by Reaseheath’s Engineering Department offer opportunities for vertical growing to save space and water.Food foraging is promoted through an edible meadow, a foraging forest, a herb living wall, a salad table and a traditional allotment with chicken coup. Pollinating insects, especially bees, are encouraged by a wide variety of pollinator plants and recycled materials are used wherever possible.
The design and build team are students who have just completed their Foundation Degree in Garden and Landscape Design. Most are returning to college for a further year’s study to complete their BSc Landscape Design and Management.
For further details of RHS Flower Show Tatton Park see www.rhs.org.uk/shows
For further details of Reaseheath’s Higher Education courses horticulture courses see www.reaseheath.ac.uk/higher-education/horticulture
The plants are progressing really well, the trees we need have been reserved at the nursery and our first rebar tree has been completed by the engineering department – It is spectacular and is going to look stunning as part of the design and also within the back-drop of Tatton Park itself. Thank-you to the Engineering team, expectations are now high for the next two trees!
At the front of our design is a bespoke mosaic that will be embedded within the hard landscaping. Constructed here at Reaseheath by students and lots of work from Ken Higginbotham, it is near completion and will provide a thoughtful entrance to the garden.
Contributions and support at families day – FdSc students Chris and Anife having great fun with visitors on a very sunny and successful families day! Curious children soon approached and joined in with the activity. It was also great to welcome our sponsors Wythenshawe Community Housing Group to the day.
A big ‘Thank-you’ to all those that helped with the seed sowing in early May, you all did a brilliant job. The seeds have been making super progress and we are now busy potting on and training beans and peas up strings – we need then as tall as possible!
The Year 2 Foundation Degree Students (Garden and Landscape Design) have been sponsored this year by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group to design and build a garden that supports and promotes some of their work within the community of Wythenshawe.
Students and tutors presented the initial design in early April. The design takes inspiration from Garden cities, real food and allotment spaces for the 21st Century. The presentation went really well and all the Housing Group representatives were enthusiastic and very complimentary about the design and work to date. The sponsors especially liked the inclusion of the tram lines as construction is well underway for the metrolink extension, linking Wythenshawe to the Airport and Manchester City Centre.
As a group we have been researching hydroponics, developing a plant list and trying to agree heights for rebar trees! Seed sowing and potting on has now become the priority!
This blog will be used to bring regular updates on the design, progress of the overall project, student profiles, information on the work undertaken by the sponsors and of course all of the key dates!
We are very proud to launch our design to the world and we hope to confirm the garden name very shortly.