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u3a 40th Anniversary Blog

Creating A Show Garden to Celebrate 40 Years of u3a

Published : 23 August 2022 Views: 961

Jim from Southport u3a discusses the process of building a show garden to celebrate the u3a 40th Anniversary for the Southport Flower Show

 

Two people standing in an empty plotIt all started with an idea from our Chair, Paddy, way back in the Autumn of last year. We were discussing options to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the u3a, and she thought it would be good for us to take a stand at the Southport Flower Show the following summer. Now, by sheer chance our Gardening Group had just elected a whole new team of Group Leaders – four to be precise – and they were also debating what initiative they could create to give the Group a new sense of purpose. They thought about creating a Show Garden at the Flower Show and asked the Committee for their opinion. Voila, the concept was created!!

The Gardening Group leaders developed a plan – and a design for a 40th Anniversary Cottage Garden, which incorporated many elements from our u3a interest groups. They then created a Gant chart showing every single action that would be needed for success and a timetable all the way through to the show. 25 volunteers came forward from the Gardening Group. These were split into two groups – planting and building – and each proceeded to put together what they needed.

A man is rolling out astroturfIn parallel with this the Leaders approached local supplying companies and managed to secure sponsorship from seven companies who would supply – free – fencing, summerhouse, paving, wood, trees, shrubs, flowers etc.

We also approached our NW u3a Trustee and he arranged for us to have a grant towards our costs and in addition a variety of other materials free.

Two men building a white wooden arch. Behind them is an empty plot, in which two people in yellow high vis jackets are standing looking at a shed.We used local and national platforms to publicise the event, including our own newsletter, the u3a national newsletter, Third Age Matters and national u3a social media sites. We also wrote personally to Chairs and Gardening Group Leaders North of Birmingham. Over 800 u3a members took advantage of this and came to see the show.

Building the Show Garden from scratch took us ten days. From a bare five metre square of earth our volunteers built fencing, concreted, dug out great holes to plant trees, built the summerhouse, painted, laid paths and turf – and finally planted the masses of shrubs, plants and flowers that would create the final garden.

A woman with blonde hair is bent over with her hands in a garden plot. In the foreground are bright green flowers, tall stalks, white delicate flowers.This was complimented by a mass of items representing many of our groups. The quilting group created a special throw, the crochet group created woollen vegetables, the cycling group provided a bike. Many other objects have been dotted around inside the summerhouse and a bookcase was created specially with large size books bound with the names of every group in our u3a.

 

 

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