A Future Garden With Roots In The Past
Kitchen Garden|September 2021
Garden Organic, the national horticultural charity, has opened the doors on a new organic demonstration and learning garden. We take a tour with head gardener Emma O’Neill
Emma O'Neill

Garden Organic has been at the forefront of the organic horticulture movement for more than 60 years. The charity has encouraged people to grow fruit, veg, and flowers organically and sustainably and has developed the garden at its home in Ryton, Coventry.

This new garden addresses ways of dealing with the challenges of climate extremes such as flooding and drought demonstrate the practices and principles of successful organic gardening and will help a new generation of people grow in a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and healthy way.

The charity’s head gardener Emma O’Neill provided a sneak preview of the layout of the new garden.

Emma gave us the details: “The garden contains three distinct areas – a kitchen garden, floral garden and a main working area.

“The kitchen garden (potager), has fruit and vegetables on show within a large four-bed rotation system.

“The display predominantly features unusual or endangered varieties of vegetables saved by the charity’s Heritage Seed Library. Vegetables include remarkable gems such as Freers Mummy Pea, rumored to have come from the tomb of Tutankhamun, and the ‘Black Valentine’ dwarf French bean, first recorded in 1897 and grown at Highgrove by HRHThe Prince of Wales’s gardening team, who have acted as volunteer seed guardians for Garden Organic for a number of years. HRH The Prince of Wales is the patron of the charity.

“This area demonstrates the important techniques of organic gardening including no-dig techniques, water-saving, green manure use, composting, organic lawn care and methods of encouraging beneficial wildlife.”

The area also features raised beds and a container garden, providing inspiration for those with limited space or in rented accommodation, along with a collection of more than a dozen different types of comfrey on view.

“Comfrey is an organic gardener’s best friend as the plant makes a wonderful organic liquid fertiliser, with exactly the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to support the plants in your garden.”

BEDS FOR BLOOMS

The floral garden, consisting of three large beds, will demonstrate organic flower growing, with beds split into planting that tolerates hot and dry to damp and shady conditions.

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