Derby College gardeners going for gold

A group of 40 garden volunteers are returning to RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in June to promote the physical and mental benefits of volunteering their time to restore and maintain the historic gardens at Derby College Group’s Broomfield Hall land-based and leisure college.

 Having won a Silver medal at last year’s show in the long border competition, they will again work with Broomfield Hall’s Head Gardener Samantha Harvey to create a garden for the show entitled ‘Find Yourself…Lost in the Moment…’.  A small team of 8 will start building the garden at Chatsworth from mid-May in time for the opening day of the flower show on June 5.

 Miss Harvey, who is a keen advocate of volunteer gardening, has designed the garden to be a calming and inspiring space for volunteers and public alike to ‘lose themselves in the present moment’.  A spiral theme runs through the garden in the form of locally made sculptures and a large wooden patio area, signifying people’s total absorption in gardening and the mindful feelings that it can foster.

 Miss Harvey explained: “Although this will be one of the smaller gardens in the show, I hope it will have great impact on the public and raise awareness and highlight the importance of volunteer gardening.  The inspiration for the garden is the feedback from our wonderful volunteers about the health benefits and creative opportunities of working in the Broomfield Hall gardens.  Working in a garden is all about mindfulness – focusing on the job and washing away the worries of everyday life in a calm and methodical way. "

 “We hope that visiting the garden and talking to our volunteers will encourage more people to get back into their own gardens and hopefully join us here at Broomfield Hall or other similar horticultural establishments.

The gardens at Broomfield Hall were created when the original hall was built in 1873 by industrialist Charles Schwind.  They still retain the Victorian layout and work is progressing to improve these further with several developments including contemporary herbaceous planting, a subtropical area, a winter garden and a new Japanese Tea Garden.

 Sponsors for the garden are Derby College Group, sculptor Robert Watts,Harlow Bros Ltd in Derby, Creation Landscapes Ltd – Staffordshire, Ocean Designs and Stanton Recycling Ltd.