October 17, 2017

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Silver Merit medal for Thrive students at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Students attending Birmingham gardening therapy charity Thrive are celebrating winning a coveted Silver Merit Medal for their display at BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

The young people attend the charity’s Grow and Learn programme at Kings Heath Park and together designed and created a garden entitled ‘The Life and Times of Miss Potter’ inspired by the hit film ‘Miss Potter’ which starred Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor.

All the students involved in the garden are from Chadsgrove School in Birmingham and have been supported by Thrive horticultural therapists and volunteers, but the design and ideas have all come from them.

The garden featured a railway track which represents Miss Potter’s journey through life, and the alpines alongside signify her determination and changing emotions of sadness, light and happiness.

The ring of flowers and holly tree tell us of the engagement at Christmas to publisher Norman Warne. The trunk and ‘for sale’ sign mark her relocation to her new home in the Lake District.

Her passion for creating and writing are represented by paintbrushes, pens and books.

The tree celebrates the publication of her first book and signifies where she was often found reading her letters. A living wall with blue flowers at the base, and inclusion of ferns, depicts the beauty of the Lake District where Beatrix lived for the rest of her life and where she grew vegetables and herbs.

Corporate supporters Forest Garden gifted the charity an Oakley Summerhouse to promote Thrive at the show and other supporters include CEVA and Kibworth Garden Centre.

Thrive won a silver award last year for its Life Changing garden in the beautiful borders section which was inspired by the film ‘The Secret Garden’.

Amanda Fields regional manager of Thrive Birmingham, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won a Silver Merit Medal, which is one better than last year!

“The students have been motivated by this project from day one and have been working on the theme since Christmas.

“They have learnt so much about how to design a garden, we’ve explored how emotions can be represented through planting and what makes you feel good as well as look good.

“Seeing a project through like this from start to finish is a huge thing for these students, all of whom have additional needs.

“It shows determination and commitment, team work, as well as boosting their confidence and self-esteem knowing their end design will come to life at such a prestigious show.

“They were there to build and plant it, as well as dismantle it at the end of the show.”

Chadsworth School teaching assistant Glenda Kelleher, said: “Gardening with Thrive, and being involved in this project, has been a fantastic thing for the students.

“For one child it has been the making of him because he used to be so shy in school, he has really come out of his shell.

“Being at the show and having the knowledge and ability to talk about the garden has done wonders for their confidence and talking to different adults in a new environment.

“I know they have all loved every minute of their time at Thrive and have learnt so much about gardening that they are telling the science teacher back at school things! We’re also using our school garden a lot more.”

At the end of the show the garden will be re-used and moved back into the former TV gardens in Kings Heath Park where Thrive Birmingham is based.

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