'Gem' of a garden wins RHS title - again

Published on: 16 Nov 2016

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by Rebecca Day
A local community garden has been judged “outstanding” by the Royal Horticultural Society for the third consecutive year.
The Filton Community Garden, in Elm Park, was listed in the It’s Your Neighbourhood category, which recognises and celebrates people volunteering their time to rejuvenate their local area as part of Britain in Bloom.
Volunteers from the garden attended the RHS award ceremony in Taunton on October 6, and were presented with the ‘Outstanding’ certificate by Emma Joy Kitchener, Lady Fellowes of West Stafford.
Dave Mikkelson, the chair of Filton Community Garden, said: “We didn’t know that we were getting the award until the day, although we had a slight inkling going by what the assessor said when they visited the garden.”
The garden is visited on an annual basis by an RHS assessor who provides feedback and offers tips on how to further improve the garden. Since last year, volunteers have planted a rose garden to commemorate the late Filton Town councillor Douglas Daniels, and also a conservation area for bees.
The garden was deemed by the assessor, Denise James, “one of the best examples of a community garden in the South West” and said that it was a “real little gem tucked away”.
Dave said: “The assessors always give us hints on ways we can improve the garden, but this year they said there was nothing much else we could do. But we want to keep finding ways to improve the garden – if we stop, we’ll just go backwards.”
Filton Community Garden first received an ‘Improving’ award from the RHS in 2013, shortly after opening the space to the public.
“The garden has blossomed from once being a patch of land where no one wanted to go, to now having lots of plants, a special conservation area, meadows and Concorde wing flower beds,” Dave said. “It’s also specially laid out so that it’s easily accessible for disabled people. The comments made by the judge really show what a wonderful job we have all done in creating this very special space for residents of Filton and the wider community.”
The garden team is due to plant an orchard next year, after receiving permission from Filton Town Council, with some ornaments and a tree sculpture being installed in the meantime.
There are around eight volunteers who maintain the garden on a regular basis.
RHS assessor Denise James said: “Everyone should be congratulated on achieving such high standards of horticultural, maintenance, presentation, addressing environmental and conservation issues, [and] restoring this once forgotten landscape into something which the whole community can enjoy.”

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