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Garden Organic nominated in the Great British Growing Awards

Garden Organic nominated in the Great British Growing Awards

We were thrilled to hear that we have been nominated for two categories in the Great British Growing Awards, run by magazine Grow Your Own – Best Gardening Organisation and Most Inspiring Vegetable Garden to Visit for our Warwickshire showcase organic gardens, Ryton Organic Gardens.

“Being shortlisted for these awards is a fantastic achievement for Garden Organic, especially given the size of our organisation compared to some of the other nominees.” Commented James Campbell, Garden Organic CEO. “It’s great that the hard work of the team has been recognised, and also very encouraging to see a good number of organic and sustainable products and companies joining us on the shortlist. Now we just need you to vote!”

Voting for the awards is quick and easy. What’s more, everybody who votes will be entered into a competition to win one of a number of great prizes.

Vote now! http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/awards/

Voting closes on 4th January 2016, with the winners announced soon after. Thank you!

Vote for Garden Organic

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Sunshine and celebration at the 2015 National Volunteer Masters Conference

Sunshine and celebration at the 2015 National Volunteer Masters Conference

Garden Organic welcomed more than one-hundred of our volunteer Master Gardeners and Composters to the Annual Masters Conference at Ryton Organic Gardens last Saturday, 19th September 2015.

Master Gardeners and Composters are volunteers with a passion for growing organic food and composting.  The Masters are trained to offer support and encouragement to people who’d like to begin to grow their own organic food or start composting at home, or in their community. There are currently 1,000 active Master Gardeners and Composters supporting new growers and composters across the country.

The conference began with a welcome from Sally Gardner, Head of Sustainable Communities at Garden Organic, followed by talks on a wide range of organic horticulture; from Biodynamic Gardening, latest research into the health benefits of organic gardening with Garden Organic’s Margi Lennartsson and top tips on seed saving from Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library.

Making ‘slow’ bread

The masters also got a chance to get their hands dirty in the various workshops on offer, learning top tips on No-dig gardening from award winning author and horticulturalist, Charles Dowding.  Meanwhile, Elaine Hibbs, Garden Organic’s Horticultural Therapist took the Masters behind the scenes on a tour of the horticultural therapy gardens before involving them in an activity to demonstrate how organic gardening helps to improve mood and well-being.

“Best conference so far! Really enjoyable”

“Filled with enthusiasm to carry on in my garden in the next year”

“Brilliant event, thank you for organising . I have learnt so much and have so much to take back to my fellow learners, gardeners and family.”

David Garrett says: “The Conference is also always a welcome opportunity for our volunteers to network and share best practice and tips with fellow volunteers in the scheme.  We’ve had  great feedback from people who attended; saying they found the conference to be inspiring, educational and motivating.”

And it wouldn’t be the Masters Conference if it didn’t end with a well-earned slice of grow-your-own themed cake.

Charles Dowding and Margi Lennartsson cut the cakes

To view more photos from the day click here

For more information on no-dig gardening visit Charles Dowding’s website http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk

Download handouts and presentations from the day here:

HANDOUT – Boost your mood with Gardening – workshop by Elaine Hibbs

HANDOUT – Biodynamic gardening – workshop by Rachael O’Kelly from the Biodynamic Association

(article reproduced with thanks to Kitchen Garden magazine)

HANDOUT – Slow bread for busy lives – workshop with Alison McGrath

HANDOUT – Why does my plant look like this? – recognising plant disorders with Anton Rosenfeld

HANDOUT – Alex’s compost kitchen – recipes for using your compost with Alex Heelis

Link to further recipes – I Don’t Dig Peat

Link to Growing Health factsheets used in Margi Lennartsson’s workshop ‘Growing for health and happiness’

 PRESENTATION – Growing for health and happiness with Margi Lennartsson

PRESENTATION – Trial and Error: learning from our members’ experiments with Francis Rayns

 

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Report Published – Growing for health and happiness

Report Published – Growing for health and happiness

 

Master Gardeners have the important and exciting role of supporting people to grow their own.  Research conducted by Coventry University has now revealed the essential health impacts of such enthusiastic volunteers, together with significant social benefits and environmental improvements.

The innovative Master Gardener Programme began in 2009 with funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Loal Food Scheme and Sheepdrove Trust, together with local government in city and rural populations.  Thousands of people have now benefited from hundreds of mentors and local networks across England.

Growing for Health and Happiness – DOWNLOAD

Click picture to download

 

 

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Helping communities grow – the impact of Master Gardener volunteers

Helping communities grow – the impact of Master Gardener volunteers

Hundreds of Garden Organic volunteers have helped tens of thousands of people to benefit from growing food since we launched the Master Gardener Programme in April 2010.

In November 2013, we won the prestigious national ‘Education and Learning’ award from the BIG Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme – a £59.8 million national grant programme. We were commended for ‘inspirational work to create a team of mentors who share knowledge across the board with support from an online network’.

We thoroughly appreciate the energy and commitment of every ‘Master Gardener’ mentor across the UK in our urban and rural networks. Each mentor has a flexible volunteer role to suit their lifestyle and interests. Each has expert support from their locally-based co-ordinator, together with bespoke resources and ongoing training.

Please click links for case studies, news, events, photos, and Facebook

Read about our health, social and environmental impacts

Volunteer achievements (spring 2010 – autumn 2013)

  • 23,000 volunteer hours in eight urban and rural networks.
  • 75% retention of 600 trained volunteers across England.
  • 5,000 people now growing food in regularly mentored ‘households’.
    Includes individuals, families and community groups.
  • 65,000 local residents supported at events, talks, estates and schools.

Coventry University’s independent evaluation shows wide ranging benefit for volunteers and households involved in the Master Gardener Programme for 12 months – and continued behavioural change after 36 months. Please see below.

 

1. Behavioural change after 12 months involvement in the Master Gardener Programme
Research from Coventry University; 299 respondents, August 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Get involved today
– volunteer, free growing advice, start Master Gardener network

 

2. Behavioural change after up to 36 months involvement in the Master Gardener Programme
As compared with 12 month outcomes. Research from Coventry University; 95 respondents, August 2013

  • 65% of households and 95% volunteers still more satisfied with their life.
  • Higher average amount of fruit and vegetables consumed per day.
  • Similar number of hours spent growing food per week.
  • 94% households still growing food with 78% growing the same or a wider range.
  • Nearly half of households and volunteer still making changes to where they buy food.

More details will be published in 2014. Please contact the Master Gardener Programme team here

“For many years we’ve been told anecdotally that gardening is good for you. What these results show is how significant the impact can be in terms of health perceptions, life satisfaction and involvement in the local community.”
Dr Moya Kneafsey, Coventry University

“[The] Master Gardener Programme is such a great scheme. It provides a proven, practical starting point for people to start growing food. It’s a way of learning by sharing others’ experience. Indeed, the approach is based on the training and goodwill of people that share their food growing skills and experience.”
Professor Tim Lang Centre for Food Policy, City University London & President of Garden Organic

“By working with volunteers in their communities, we’re showing that the initial challenges of growing your own food can be overcome. So if that first crop ends up slug eaten, rather than feel demoralised, people look for advice and support instead of giving up.”
Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme manager

Click here for an overview of Coventry University’s independent evaluation

Launch a Master Gardener network

Develop a commission with Garden Organic to contribute to your organisation’s health, social and environmental outcomes by launching and managing mentor networks that help people with food growing advice.

Read more about partnership opportunities

Get involved with Master Gardener networks

  • Search local events, blogs and growing advice by your nearest Master Gardeners.
  • Register for 12 months free food growing advice as one of their supported households.
  • Involve your local growing group

Find your nearest Master Gardener

Medway
Master Gardeners, Kent
North London
Master Gardeners
South London
Master Gardeners

 

Norfolk
Master Gardeners
Lincolnshire
Master Gardeners
Coventry & Warwickshire
Master Gardeners

 

Somerset
Master Gardeners
HMP Rye Hill
Master Gardeners
Future networks…

 

About the Master Gardener Programme
Partners & Funding
Programme ambitions
Growing tips

Article by Philip Turvil

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What happened at November training: propagation, harvest celebration, top tips

What happened at November training: propagation, harvest celebration, top tips

We hosted lively training days across England in November 2013 as part of Garden Organic’s unique support for our enthusiastic Master Gardeners.

As with all our ‘in-service’ training, the topics are based on requests by volunteers. We use expert tutors and practical activities.

The training is geared at developing the confidence of each volunteer network to find and mentor people to benefit from food growing. Click here to read about recent training.

November photos and links

 Cutting, layering and dividing – MGs get stuck in at another Training Day    A look back and a practical step forward for Norfolk Master Gardeners
Cutting, layering and dividing – MGs get stuck in at another Training Day (North London) Master Gardeners make plants for free at November In-Service training (Medway) A look back and a practical step forward for Norfolk Master Gardeners (Norfolk)
   Propagation day  – Master Gardener training  Fruit and veg talk at extra training day – we never tire of it!
Autumn Harvest Celebration biggest ever for county (Lincolnshire) Propagation day – Master Gardener training (Coventry & Warwickshire) Fruit and veg talk at extra training day – we never tire of it! (South London)

Upcoming local events & training

More news
Case studies
Get involved

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Where to find food growing advice

Where to find food growing advice

Growing food is endlessly satisfying. It’s tricky, too, with ambitious slugs and stubborn seeds.

A little advice goes a long way. That’s why Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners are here to help in volunteer networks across England. Our mentors vary in growing knowledge and experience, but are united by wanting to share their passion for food growing to help others no matter the growing space.

We’re not about self sufficiency. Instead, we want to fill sandwiches and top up meals with fresh edible delights for people to munch.

In fact, most gardeners enjoy sharing ideas, tips, tricks, stories, seeds, plants and frustrations. They also share tea and biscuits if you’re lucky.

I’ve been gardening since age six, or potting bench height, and discovered gardening to be a generous hobby. A generous industry, too, as wonderfully described on the horticultural careers website, ‘Grow’, and on the agricultural/food sector website, ‘Bright Crop’.

My best wishes for your growing year,

Philip Turvil MI Hort

Master Gardener blogs
Coventry & Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, Medway, Lincolnshire and Somerset

Sign up free for 12 months growing advice from your local volunteer mentor

Free growing pack for MG mentored household

Top tips

Seasonal advice from the Master Gardener Programme

Garden Organicmonthly tips, free growing manual and membership

Crop by crop growing cards for vegetables, fruit, herbs, edible flowers & green manures
(latest UK crops here)

Step by step instructions for growing activities

Social networks

Lively websites

Crop planning by a school gardening club

More growing advice from the Master Gardener Programme

Posted in Edible flower, Featured, Fruit, Growing tips, Herbs, Herbs, Vegetables0 Comments

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme wins national award

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme wins national award

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme is celebrating success after scooping the prestigious national ‘Education and Learning’ award, at the Local Food Awards.

Competing against education and learning projects from across England, Garden Organic impressed the independent Local Food Panel with their model for cascading growing knowledge, backed by a central resource – in the form of an online network. They received their top prize at the awards ceremony at The Lowry in Manchester.

Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme Manager, said:

“We are delighted that Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme has won such a prestigious award to celebrate the achievements of our volunteers and our team’s approach to finding and supporting such enthusiastic growing mentors.

“The Master Gardener Programme delivers wide-reaching benefits that go beyond just growing food. It’s also about a healthy lifestyle, community and improving the environment.

“We don’t want to just train Master Gardener volunteers the best way of growing a lettuce for lunch. We want to show them how to pass this information on to others in the community, to share their passion and experience so that everyone is learning from each other and feeling the benefits. It’s fantastic that this award recognises all the work that goes into achieving this. Thank you to each Master Gardener, our local partners, and Local Food.”

Read about the impacts of Master Gardeners

Mark Wheddon, Local Food Programme Manager, said:

“The Local Food Awards are a unique opportunity to celebrate and reward the dedicated people who are delivering some of the excellent projects we have funded. All of our projects deserve recognition for the work they do, but we are delighted for Garden Organic on their success at the Awards.

“Their inspirational work to create a team of mentors who share knowledge across the board with support from an online network, saw them edge ahead of their competitors.”

Find out more

Master Gardeners Rodney and Sue with the award!

About the awards

The Local Food Awards are an opportunity to recognise, reward and celebrate some of the hundreds of outstanding community projects that Local Food has funded since the programme opened in 2008.

All 500 Local Food projects were invited to enter the Awards in four categories – Small Grants, Community Food Growing, Education and Learning, and Enterprise.  Shortlisted projects were put before an external panel in September, and the winners in each category were unveiled today during the Local Food Celebratory Event at The Lowry in Manchester.

About the Master Gardener Programme

Since 2009, the Master Gardener Programme has received funding from Local Food to develop a practical model for a volunteer support network to encourage and mentor people and communities to grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens and on local communal land.

This has involved the recruitment of a co-ordination team based in Warwickshire, London and Norfolk, who have trained and supported 475 Master Gardeners who have given 18,500 hours to promote home food production. The volunteers have impacted on the lives of 4,300 people in mentored ‘households’ and another 52,000 people through workshops and other support for local groups.

Today, thousands more people are benefiting from growing food with Master Gardeners thanks to commissions to start networks in new areas

Get in touch

Master Gardeners celebrating with the Award

More Master Gardeners celebrating with the Award1

Local Food Certificate and Trophy

 

L to R: Graham Smith presents the Award to Garden Organic’s Philip Turvil & Kate Newman

150 people from Local Food projects gathered at the Lowry, Manchester

Who’s who?

  • Garden Organic (www.gardenorganic.org.uk) is the UK’s leading organic growing charity dedicated to promoting organic gardening in homes, communities and schools. Using innovation and inspiration, the charity aims to get more people growing in the most sustainable way. Garden Organic delivers through renowned projects such as the Food for Life Partnership, the Master Composter and Master Gardener schemes, and the work of The Heritage Seed Library.
  • Volunteer Master Gardeners benefit communities with food growing advice. The enthusiastic mentors are fully trained and supported by Garden Organic. People taking part in the programme show significant health, social and environment benefits after 12 months involvement and continued positive lifestyle change after 36 months involvement.
    The innovative Master Gardener Programme began in 2010 with funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme and Sheepdrove Trust, together with local government in city and rural populations. There are now mentor networks in Warwickshire, Coventry, North London, South London, Norfolk, Medway, Lincolnshire and Somerset. Garden Organic aims to develop and sustain these programme areas more nationally to follow the success of Garden Organic’s Master Composter network.
  • Local Food (www.localfoodgrants.org) is a £59.8 million programme that distributes money from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) to a variety of food-related projects to help make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities. It was developed by a consortium of 17 national environmental organisations, and is managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT).
    RSWT is a registered charity incorporated by Royal charter to promote conservation and manage environmental programmes throughout the UK. It has established management systems for holding and distributing funds totalling more than £20 million a year.
    The Big Lottery Fund
    (www.biglotteryfund.org.uk) is the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding. It is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need, awarding over £4.4 billion to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since 2004.

Read more Master Gardener news or get involved

More from Garden Organic

 

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Garden Organic’s National Volunteer Masters come together to celebrate growing people and plants

Garden Organic’s National Volunteer Masters come together to celebrate growing people and plants

Garden Organic has hosted its National Volunteer Masters Conference 2013 bringing together composting and growing mentors from across the UK to celebrate their achievements.

More than 215 Master Gardeners, Master Composters, Local Food Project Co-ordinatorsSeed Stewards and other likeminded volunteers attended Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens site on September 28 for a day of activities to celebrate the work and achievements of the Masters Volunteers network.

A series of themed workshops took place across the day with subject areas including community composting, wildlife gardening, soil science and fruit growing advice.

Roger Key, Garden Organic’s Chair of Trustees, said

“For over a decade, Garden Organic has trained and supported volunteer mentors. This dedicated network of volunteers benefit communities across the country.

“The conference is a celebration of their achievement and an opportunity for us to acknowledge the dedication, inspiration and enthusiasm of the volunteers in delivering growing and composting activities into their communities and networks.”

Guest speaker Professor Chris Baines, a Garden Organic Ambassador and campaigner for urban nature conservation, provided an inspirational speech on the nature of the future highlighting the actions required now to protect our natural environment.

The National Volunteer Masters Awards Ceremony saw individual and group achievements across the Masters Volunteer Network recognised and rewarded within four key categories – Achievement Award, Master Award, Innovation and Social Media Award and Group Achievement Award. Read about the our 2013 award winners here.

Feedback from conference delegates

  • “Really well organised, brilliant venue, staff were so, so lovely”
  • “A very inspiring day! Shame it went so fast! See you next year.”
  •  “Really enjoyed it, meeting people, speakers, groups and Ryton is lovely.”
  • “Wonderful presentation from Chris Baines.”
  • “Quite intense – lots of information crammed in (but good)”
  • “I genuinely didn’t realise there were so many ‘Master Composter’ or similar projects around the country so it was really helpful to see the bigger picture.”

Wonderful group of lively volunteers gather at Ryton Gardens.

Inside the group photo!

Early morning calm before 215 guests!

Garden Organic’s head of programmes, Margi Lennartsson addresses the audience

Garden Organic’s chair of trustees, Roger Key thanks the volunteers

Garden Organic’s new chief executive, James Cambell meets volunteers over tea and cake

Organic gardening expert, Pauline Pears leads a training session with volunteers

Coffee cups become plant pots

Masters with hens…

Workshop led by Ryton head gardener, Andi

Cutting the official conference cake…!

Group photos

New ‘Hens@Home’ mentors trained by Garden Organic at the National Volunteers Masters Conference 2013

Volunteers and co-ordinators involved with Garden Organic’s Sowing New Seeds project in growing spaces around England

Co-ordinators from Local Food projects gathered for a special workshop with Master Gardener Programme manager Philip Turvil (far left) as part of a Shared Learning Exchange visit. Co-ordinators were joined by lots of their volunteers

 

Volunteer Master Gardeners offer food growing advice to local people and communities. The volunteers are fully trained and supported by Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity.

This programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, Public Health, Local Authorites and commercial firms in eight areas, Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, Medway, Lincolnshire, Somerset and HMP Rye Hill. For more information visit the Master Gardener website at http://mastergardeners.org.uk

The Master Composter Programme is an initiative where Garden Organic work with community volunteers to promote and support home composting. Volunteers undertake a training programme in composting and issues surrounding organic waste management.

They then carry out activities in their local community to raise awareness and participation in home composting. The programme is carried out in collaboration with local authorities and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). For further information about the programme go to http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/composting/mastercomposter.php

Read more news from the Master Gardener Programme

Read more news from Garden Organic

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Award winning volunteers at Garden Organic’s national conference

Award winning volunteers at Garden Organic’s national conference

Garden Organic has hosted a special awards ceremony at its National Master Volunteer Master conference to celebrate the achievements of its volunteer networks.

More than 215 Master Gardeners, Master Composters, Local Food Project Co-ordinatorsSeed Stewards and other likeminded volunteers attended Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens site on September 28 for a day of activities.

After independent judges reviewed a record number of nominations, the awards were presented by Chris Baines, a campaigner for urban nature conservation.

  • The Achievement Award, kindly sponsored by Harrod Horticultural, is given to a volunteer who has gone beyond expectation in their activities and was won by South London Master Gardener Pamela Woodroffe. Pamela has been an inspiration to people living in Tulse Hill, Brixton, almost single-handedly engaging the community in growing schemes, including community composting and provision of gardening advice and information to schools and community groups.
  •  The Master Award, kindly sponsored by VegTrug, which recognises exceptional achievement by a volunteer was won by Eunice McGhie-Belgrave MBE, of Stechford, Birmingham. Working with Garden Organic’s Sowing New Seeds project and actively involved in various community and school growing projects, Mrs McGhie-Belgrave is an inspirational figure in her community, encouraging and promoting the benefits of gardening and growing produce to people of all ages.
  •  The Group Achievement Award, which recognises impacts delivered by a group in their community, was won by the Zimbabwe Association, who have nurtured the Sowing New Seeds demonstration plot at Spitalfields City Farm in London. The plot has produced armfuls of vibrant nutritious food. “The group have taught us about their traditional crops, cooked for us, sung for us and hugged us!” says Olivia Burt of Spitalfields City Farm.
  •  The Innovation and Social Media Award was won by North London Master Gardener Nat Mady. Nat’s idea to set up an edible roof garden on the outside terrace of her employer’s office, along with a gardening club for employees to get involved in to maintain the space, are among the innovative practices she has implemented in her Master Gardener role.

 

Congratulations to all our entrants

 

Stella (middle), Zimbabwe Association
 

Eunice McGhie-Belgrave MBE, Sowing New Seeds
 

Gloria, Master Gardeners
 

Nat, Master Gardener
 

Paul, Master Composter
 

Colin & Guy, Master Gardeners

 

More award news

Our 2012 Conference Award Winners

Our 2011 Conference Award Winners

Local Food Heroes in Warwickshire

Local Food Heroes in Norfolk

and….

Master Gardener Programme shortlisted for national award

Read more case studies

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Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens to undergo redevelopment to create new education and resource centre

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens to undergo redevelopment to create new education and resource centre

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens is to undergo a site redevelopment as part of a plan to create a new education and resource centre.

During the winter months the shop and café will be replaced by a new Garden Organic education and resource centre. Parts of the ten acre gardens will be redesigned to create a more interactive and educational experience that showcases the latest organic gardening ideas and techniques and the charity’s programmes work.

The new Garden Organic education and resource centre will open in March 2014 to the public, Garden Organic members and visiting organisations such as schools and community groups. A new public entrance area for the Vegetable Kingdom and Gardens will see Garden Organic staff on hand to provide advice, assistance and literature about the charity.

A members area will be created alongside a library stocked with extensive archive materials and books for people to use to research and educate themselves about organic gardening. There will also be displays about Garden Organic’s work and the chance to see organic gardening demonstrations and experiments in the gardens.

Roger Key, Garden Organic’s Chairman of Trustees, said:

“The Council of Trustees has taken the decision to concentrate on the core objectives of the charity and return to the basics around teaching people to grow organically. This will be achieved by redesigning our demonstration gardens and improving our ability to inspire and educate people of all ages.

“The redesigned gardens will provide a unique opportunity for people to feel involved and connected to our work, while they learn new techniques and methods about organic gardening.

“The redevelopment of the site marks an exciting new chapter in the history of Garden Organic. By taking the charity back to its core roots, it will allow us to grow stronger as an organisation as we concentrate our efforts on education and showcasing the importance of organic growing ideas and methods.”

The new site layout will also provide space for schools to use as a classroom and picnic area. An exhibition space will also be available to showcase Garden Organic work, that of partner organisations and local artists and groups.

The annual schedule of events offered by Garden Organic will be reviewed as part of the redevelopment plans and an announcement about the future of events will take place in 2014. Garden Organic’s popular Apple Day will go ahead on October 12 as planned with a full schedule of activities.

The gardens will remain open during the autumn/winter months, with free entry to the gardens during this period. However, there will be some small changes to the opening hours of the gardens.

From 31 October 2013, the gardens will open Monday to Saturday but will close on Sunday. These new opening times will remain in place during the autumn/winter months and will be reviewed in Spring 2014.

More news from Garden Organic

News from Master Gardener Programme

 

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Photos on flickr