Workshops teach budding gardeners skills to flourish
Last updated at 11:08, Monday, 25 February 2013
“HAVE a guess which fruit goes into Ribena,” asks garden designer and consultant, Jennifer Lauruol, of the small group of children assembled in Green Heart Den’s shed.
The children are part of the Furness Parents and Carers Forum gardening group and are just beginning their gardening journey.
The group has been given two planters through the site’s Community Grow Your Own scheme and attended Jennifer’s information session to get some ideas.
And it is Jennifer’s intention to introduce herbs and plants that could be rewarding and relevant to them.
Passing a sprig of rosemary round the table, Jennifer says: “This is great for barbecues. It’s really nice with tomatoey things and spare ribs.”
Showing the group a lavender leaf picked straight from the garden, Jennifer advises: “You need to pinch it to get the scent. This one loves the sunshine and in this country it grows right out of the rock.
“You can harvest it and make little pillows for yourself. We’ve got lots.”
Jennifer is passionate about the environment and sustainability and has been interested in herbal medicine for over 30 years. Her own herb garden in Lancaster provides herbs for her kitchen, teas and poultices, but she hopes the children with visual impairments will benefit from the sensory experience.
Inspecting the lemon balm one of the boys says it smells like soap.
“It makes a really good cup of tea,” adds Jennifer.
“There’s another name for it, it’s called bee balm because it’s one of the herbs that attracts the bees.”
Handing round a sprig of thyme Jennifer says: “If we wanted to make any plants out of this, we would strip the leaves off the bottom half and stick it in the edge of the pot and leave them for six months – and that’s it!”
After the introduction to herbs, Jennifer tells the group: “We’re going to walk on the other side of the garden, through the tunnel and have a look around. Go exploring and find the herbs we’ve been smelling and see if you can find some different ones.”
Jennifer, a former Ormsgill resident, has worked on a number of projects in the Barrow area.
She specialises in designing gardens for small back yards.
“Most people do have land but don’t know what to do,” she says.
Referring to her previous work in Barrow she adds: “Generally people seem really enthusiastic. The workshops at Barrow Park were for anybody interested, but mostly for people from Hindpool. The workshops were about how you can design your yard to grow food and flowers.
“The thing I’m really passionate about is empowering people.”
Armed with ideas, community development officer for Barrow Sports Council’s Equity Team, Derek Brook, says: “We’ve got low level planters which will be accessible for wheelchairs and little kids. We don’t really care what goes into the planters, it’s up to the kids.
“We will set aside a time when we will come and water the plants or they can show their friends the things they’ve grown. Some kids have visual impairments and have really loved going round and smelling the stuff. That’s why we did this.”
But it’s more than just a growing opportunity for the group. The scheme also provides access to open green spaces as well as opportunities for physical activity and social engagement.
“We’ve had picnics here in the summer for children with disabilities and they’ve really enjoyed it,” adds Derek.
“We will probably start having picnics again from Easter.”
First published at 15:18, Friday, 22 February 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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