A green-fingered group of Surrey Choices customers have been busy helping to create a new woodland at an 18-acre estate of outstanding natural beauty as National Gardening Week begins today.
Budding gardeners from Surrey Choices’ Growth Team have been out in force with trowels and forks at The Garden House to help plant an astonishing 1500 trees and shrubs, a large pond, orchard, hedgerow, as well as a new wildlife friendly garden perfect for creepy crawlies wanting to move permanently into the Godalming based garden.
Surrey Choices provides support opportunities for individuals in the community with learning, mental, physical or sensory disabilities, offering a wide range of day services to enhance training and skills that can be transferred into employment. Its team of gardeners have a wide range of support needs and are encouraged to partake in activities that allow them to get ‘hands-on’ experience.
The social enterprise project at The Garden House is now in its fourth year of development and aims to create a sustainable environment where wildlife can thrive and members of the community can come together and appreciate the beauty of nature.
Robbie, a customer who regularly attends the gardening sessions, said: “It’s a great feeling to create a new landscape that could be around for centuries. The whole team has watched the farm transform throughout the season and we can’t wait for summer to arrive.
“It’s been a fantastic opportunity to work with new people and take part in activities that you wouldn’t get the chance to do everyday.”
Another Surrey Choices customer, Jack, added: “I knew nothing about gardening before joining the project, but I’ve really enjoyed planting seeds and watching the young trees grow over the months.
“I never knew how much time you had to dedicate to managing land and making sure a brand new garden looks completely natural but the effort is completely worth it.”
The Garden House has been developed by proprietors Andrew and Caroline Hunter, with the vision of creating a model environment through sustainable use of land and buildings. The key aims of the project are to support wildlife, create sustainable food resources, support the shift to low carbon buildings and renewable energy, as well as providing a hub for the local community to learn new skills and make a positive change to the area.