On Friday, working with Thrive, we held our first special event for Open Gardens event organisers. We wanted to see if there would be benefit in Open Gardens idea sharing and giving people the chance to learn a bit more about what Thrive does. We also wanted to test some new ideas for how gardening can be developed in the community to help those living with disabilities or who may be isolated living alone.
Well what a day! We have come away totally inspired by the positive energy and insights shared. So much so that we are now thinking how we can develop the discussion and stage future events.
One suggestion was that we use this GreenPlantSwap forum to share and 'test' Open Gardens ideas. Hundreds of town and village open gardens events use the service, so anything you want an opinion on should get feedback from people who know.
Another thought is to make the 'Gardening for Good' day an annual event. There is much more we could have discussed and next time we could have towns or villages presenting who have done particular things. We also need to think how we serve those further North; I had many people contact me ahead of the event to say that sadly Trunkwell, near Reading, was too far to come.
A third subject is how we can help people thinking of staging an Open Gardens event for the first time. We already have a marketing pack for organisers to use (online and offline), but there is also practical advice around organisation, signing up the gardens, raising money, volunteers, wider promotion etc. We could have smaller events or online seminars around the year for people interested in that, if there is sufficient appetite.
Do let us know what you think and, hopefully, comments from attendees below will give you a sense of what this, our first 'Gardening for Good' day, was like and the ideas they found useful.
Photo: Thrive's Jan Broady, Senior Horticultural Therapist, leading one of the tours of the Trunkwell Gardens on Friday