Plants are always one of our biggest challenges and we are very fortunate to have some local nurseries and garden centres who regularly donate to us, either stock they can no longer use or plants that we have cheekily asked for. However, gardens such as the Bearpit and the Quakers Burial Ground, our Edible Park, are large and often what appears to be a large number of plants actually really don’t go very far.
The other challenge with the Quakers Burial Ground is it’s shade. A magnificent plane stands in it’s midst which throws shade across most of the garden and although that is of course welcome on a hot day, it’s a challenge to find plants that will be happy to live under and around it.
So imagine our absolute joy when we were offered an entire show garden of plants from RHS Tatton, by garden designer and friend of Incredible Edible Bristol, Giulio Passarelli. I met Giulio in Sheffield on my trip to meet Ron Finley in 2014 and we have remained in touch and when he found out that he had been given the opportunity of making a show garden this year, Giulio was determined that we have the plants.
Now some people have assumed that what this means is that we will be recreating the garden, but that could not be further from the truth. there will be no putting down of an unwanted, and unconsulted about garden in a space where it is assumed local volunteers will look after it. That has been done far too many times and sadly often ends up with a sad looking garden in an even sadder looking space. What we will be receiving is the plants to do with as we will. To spread out amongst our gardens and to make change in the spaces that we are already working in.
The plants are not edible so will not be appropriate for many of our gardens but for spaces such as the Quakers Burial Ground and The Bearpit Garden, where beauty jostles with productivity , they will add an extra dimension to what we already do. And they will continue to help us not just to create beautiful and productive gardens in lost and unloved spaces, but they will support us to continue to challenge and question the ways in which public space is used in our cities.