Stay Home - Grow Your Own!
Helping Cardiff residents get growing during lockdown
When the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, all our planned activities obviously had to be cancelled. But we don’t like to be bored – so we got chatting with other Cardiff organisations and quickly made a plan!
With everyone stuck at home, lots of people were turning to their gardens to keep them busy and help them relax. From our experience we knew that a lot of people in our community might not have the things they needed at home to start growing so we popped together some free kits containing compostable pots, peat free compost, easy to grow flower seeds, labels, and a growing sheet.
At the same time, we heard from Bute Park Nursery that they were unable to make use of the hundreds of bedding plants they had grown for municipal planters around the city. The Great Viola Rescue of 2020 was born!
The steady steam of people (keeping an appropriate distance from one another, of course) taking the free violas you’re offering has not only put huge smiles on the faces of the people taking them, but has also slapped a huge grin on my face. What a beautiful thing you’re doing!
On two occasions we were able to offer trays of flowers – violas, senettis, and beautiful scented stocks – for people to collect. We also arranged for volunteers to deliver flowers by bike to people shielding or self isolating, and we delivered batches of flowers to local organisations such as Cardiff Deaf Centre, The Huggard Centre, and St Jude’s Care Home.
The whole thing was such a hit that we couldn’t stop there! Thanks to a small pot of funding from Food For Life Get Togethers we were able to ask Bute Park Nursery to grow a selection of beautiful veg and herbs, and create a special growing guide to help people get the most from their new plants. Plant pick ups and volunteer bike deliveries continued throughout the summer.
A beautiful and surprising aspect of the plant pick ups was how many people brought something to share – plants, jam, biscuits, even artwork. Splott and Adamsdown is a truly wonderful community, and one again we felt so honoured to be a part of it.
Just wanted to say thank you for the flowers. The residents helped plants the flowers, that then led a few of them to help weed and start sorting the vegetable patch we have, so from a kind act the chain reaction was amazing and created a beautiful afternoon for the residents in the sun.
To accompany the project we planned a series of virtual ‘Grow-alongs’, with skill sharing, virtual garden tours, quizzes and lots more. These have been so popular that we’ve continued doing them, and started offering them as a bookable service for other organisations.
Stay Home Grow Your Own culminated in an event at Railway Gardens as part of the Food Cardiff Autumn Festival with hundreds of free plants given away. The project was even featured on BBC One’s Britain’s Volunteer Army!
Now in 2021 we are once again working with Bute Park nursery for a plant giveaway at Railway Gardens, and our Growing Guide is still available to download.
omg guys I'm really getting into this gardening lark. I currently have my violas from you so I bought some fuchsias to go in hanging basket too. someone gave me 2 chilli plants and a courgette plant. then my friend gave me 2 tomato plants last week AND they're ALL still alive. I have painted tyres ready to make raised beds and going to grow potatoes etc. be prepared for me to bombard you all with questions. I'm finding it therapeutic tbh.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who grew, transported, and distributed the plants – this was a very special experience for us and brought a bit of normality to life in lockdown. An extra special thanks to the CCHA Flourish team for their flexibility and reliability helping with plant logistics.
If you’d like us to run a Grow-Along with your audience then please do get in touch for a chat using the form below.