Gardening club that is blooming

They may not be as skilled as Alan Titchmarsh, but with a bit of help from their pals, Friends at Ribbleton Library have a blossoming community garden.

Tuesday, 29th August 2017, 10:43 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:43 pm
Friends of Ribbleton Library Gardening Club

Since the nine-strong gardening club was formed in 2008, members have created, developed and maintain an award winning community garden in the grounds of the library, in Ribbleton Hall Drive.

Keen to broaden their knowledge members attended a Lancashire Adult Learning gardening course, led by Bill Blackledge MBE who has broadcast on BBC Gardeners Question Time and BBC Radio Lancashire.

Steve Dolby, chairman of Friends of Ribbleton Library (FoRL) Gardening Club, says: “None of us would claim to be expert gardeners, but we are all enthusiasts and willing to learn from experts, each other and our experiences.

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Friends of Ribbleton Library Gardening Club

“We all enjoy each other’s company and socialise occasionally with trips to other gardens, go out for meals and celebrate big events together.

“So, strangers to each other originally, we thought we should be called the Friends at Ribbleton Library.

“As well as having a mature planted area with seats for relaxing and enjoying the sight of ever changing colours and fragrances from the shrubs and flowers, we grow vegetables and have a prolific soft fruit growing area and a wild flower area.

“We have tried to make the garden disabled friendly and as well as the seating area we have a woodchip path around the garden and a paved area at the rear.

Friends of Ribbleton Library Gardening Club

“Our pride and joy is a greenhouse made from hundreds of empty pop bottles, this gives us the ability to grow plants from seed and overwinter some of our more delicate plants.

“It was featured on BBC Radio Lancashire, and in both Home Farmer Magazine and the Post.”

Despite claiming not to be experts, the group has achieved a lot in its nine-year history.

Within six weeks of the first spade being turned in 2008, FoRL participated in the RHS Britain in Bloom It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign and an Intermediate Certificate was awarded.

The following year the campaign was modified and the group gained a Thriving Level 4 Certificate.

In 2011 the Friends made a big effort to meet all the judging criteria and were awarded a Level 5 Outstanding Certificate and the CGA Trophy for Best Small Neighbourhood.

The group continued to develop the garden, hoping to maintain at least the Outstanding Level 5 Grade which it did and it was again awarded the CGA Trophy for best Small Neighbourhood having been assured that no one won it two years running.

Another proud accolade was the Helena Homes Trophy for Best Overall Neighbourhood.

In 2014 members were awarded a Level 5 Outstanding Certificate and a National Certificate of Distinction.

With a passion for supporting good causes, members took part in the National Garden Scheme (NGS) in 2015 and 2016.

They have spent a large part of this year holding fund-raisers and have hosted a visit from Preston U3A and will entertain visitors from Galloway’s later this year.

Steve adds: “We would like to thank library staff past and present for their support over the years.

“We are always looking to recruit new enthusiastic members. You don’t need to be an expert, just enthusiastic and willing to learn. Rest assured there is no heavy digging, as we have raised beds.

“If anyone reading this has ideas on fund-raising or sponsorship we will also be interested to hear from you.”

Anyone wishing to join can email [email protected]