Can Do Solent: Part two

19 December 2018

By Catherine

Excitement is building at Portsmouth College as we prepare to start work on the community garden. The area identified for development is well used by the student community and a hive of activity for over 1,400 students. Portsmouth college students looking at the ground

I met with the staff from Portsmouth college in November to discuss plans for the Spring term.

Some ideas discussed included renovating the pond, building a shed and/or glasshouse, building raised beds, building a herb spiral, creating a sensory garden, wildlife area, paths, trellis and hanging baskets.

Local businesses

I'm also looking to contract a local gardener to work with and will be forming partnerships and consulting with local experts, organisations and conservation groups.

These include Portsmouth City Council allotments officer Tony Keen at Milton Piece allotments; Ann Moss at Harbourside garden which is a National Garden Scheme garden; Stacey Community Centre; Friends of Baffins Pond Association; Men’s Sheds; and the college Chaplaincy Group can provide volunteers to do some sessions.

Garden with four raised flower beds

Next term we will be working with students from the Horizons, Futures, Aspire, Venture and Voyage classes in the LDD department, who will help design and shape the vision for the garden.

To provide inspiration, we will be organising trips to local community gardens, ponds and garden centres which will also help to build skills and knowledge on what plants thrive in the local coastal climate.

Innovative ways

A pond with a wooden bench behind

As the ground at the college isn’t suitable to plant into due to contamination, we will be building raised beds and exploring innovative ways to grow a sensory garden and fruit and vegetables that everyone can enjoy and help to take care of.

Good access at all times of the year will be a key planning feature, as will the ability to maintain and use the garden from a seated position.

At the moment, planters are very low to the ground and foxes often disturb or destroy less hardy plants.

Bursting with colour

With an abundance of creative participants, this garden will be bursting with colour and handcrafted pieces designed and created by students, giving it a new identity and encouraging more people to stop and enjoy the ever-changing beauty of the seasons.

We hope tutors will be inspired and encouraged to take lessons outdoors which will provide more opportunities for students to gain skills in gardening and pond care and maintenance. 

The college have already spent time preparing the pond area for development and this will be a focal feature of the space.

Additional seating will be introduced to this area so people can take time to reflect and listen to the tranquil sounds of a new water feature.

Catherine is Can Do Programme Coordinator in Portsmouth.

Our Can Do Gardening projects are funded by National Garden Scheme.

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