Coleshill & District Gardening Club was founded in 1989 and currently has around 50 members. With monthly meetings, two or three annual outings, and spring and summer shows, there are lots of things to keep the group busy. Some members also take part in Coleshill Open Gardens which is organised by Coleshill in Bloom committee.
They’re based in the market town of Coleshill which is in North Warwickshire. The town of approx 6,500 people has a thriving community, with a brass band which has been running for over 100 years, and a keen interest in all things horticultural.
Around three years ago, the President and founder of the gardening club, Dr Jack Stuart, who at 91 has been a keen supporter and helper of Coleshill C of E Junior School activities for a number of years, was approached by a very enthusiastic classroom assistant, Iveta Priede who was keen to resurrect the school gardens and to clear a very overgrown copse in the grounds. Together with the help of club member Jane Ormrod, who is also on the school’s PTA committee, they set about transforming the school grounds.
The project turned into a real community affair when the hard work was shared between many gardening club members, parents and even local businesses who turned up to help on working party days. A bramble covered copse was cleared and a mix of flower and vegetable beds were formed, along with a turfed area.
The timing of the project also coincided with the formation of an after school club, which introduced some of the children to gardening and particularly to growing vegetables. The assistants at the after school club are also members of Coleshill Gardening club, so the children are benefiting from a wealth of horticultural knowledge and know-how.
Not only does the school have 3 vegetable beds and a fruit patch in which to grow produce, the working party also managed to squeeze a number of flower beds into previously unused spaces, giving a much improved area for the children to play in, and a nicer all-round environment for pupils and parents alike. Christine says "This year the school enjoyed growing beans, lettuces, courgettes, radishes, potatoes and carrots all from Thompson & Morgan seeds. They also had strawberries in the fruit bed, and have used some old sinks from the school to plant herbs in."
The produce has been used, in part by the children who helped plant it, other produce helps celebrate Harvest Festival in church and school.
Jack and Iveta are particularly pleased with how the project has gone. Iveta says "I’ve been so keen to get this project up and running, and with Jack’s enthusiasm and the ongoing help of the gardening club members, I’m delighted with the result. The children love coming out here, watching the plants grow and seeing the results."
Christine concludes "It’s a great project to be involved in, and all members enjoy helping out enormously, it’s lovely to see the younger generation getting the gardening bug."
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Teacher Miss Newman and Christine, helping the pupils.
Christine Maclaren and Jack Stuart with some of the after school club, clearing the copse area.