Our Heritage Gardens Workshop began in 2017, as a practical guided course that ran over twelve months and included fifty participants. These included volunteers, adults with mild learning disabilities, people suffering from mental health difficulties, and members of the general public.
The Workshop aimed to revitalise an unused, uninspiring corner of our garden at Growing Together Westcliff. We wanted to transform this area into a potager garden, inspired by traditional Victorian kitchen gardens. Workshop participants were involved in the research, site analysis, design, and planning of the Heritage Gardens.
The first session included a visit from Dr Sandra Nicholson, Senior Lecturer of Garden History from Writtle College. Dr Nicholson gave the group an introduction to garden history, focusing on the Victorian period.
Researching Victorian kitchen gardens took place both in the classroom and on visits to heritage sites like Audley End, The Geffrye Museum of the Home, Warley Place and RHS Hyde Hall.
Once we had learnt about the history of kitchen gardening and made our plans for the area at Growing Together Westcliff we began planting the garden. After a year’s hard work and toil, the Heritage Gardens were officially opened by the Mayor of Southend-on-Sea at our May Fayre, on the 14th May 2018.