A HORTICULTURAL charity based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore has won its second garden award of the year.

Garden Organic has won a silver gilt award for its Family Potager Garden at the Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair in Essex.

The miniature garden – which contains vegetables, herbs and flowers – demonstrates how families with small plots and tiny budgets can produce a fun garden which produces organic produce, attracts insects and wildlife, and encourages children to participate in the garden.

It was created by Garden Organic’s Head Gardener Emma O’Neill, who incorporated many ideas for families on tight budgets and with small plots, and was deemed a winning design at the Audley End House show.

The garden featured a mini 30cm-diameter pond to encourage beneficial insects, and a child friendly ‘mud kitchen’ to let kids have fun making mud pies.

Visitors and judges were impressed by the easily-replicable ideas the charity showed in the small space. The garden was divided into four vegetable beds where a combination of organic vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers were planted to yield fresh organic produce and encourage insects and wildlife.

The vegetables on show – including heritage varieties of chard, kale and beetroot – were grown from seed from Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library.

Emma O’Neill said: “We were really excited to show gardeners some easy projects for them to replicate at home ­– and delighted to win an award.

“The four-bed potager is perfect for introducing variety and diversity to small gardens and ideal for encouraging family members to look after a section each, choosing the plants and tending to them.

“The interactive mud garden encourages little ones to get their hands dirty while making mud pies, and is designed to give children good memories in a garden from a young age.”

There was also a composting area to provide organic material to improve soil quality, a bug hotel made from hanging baskets, and a seating area. With sustainability being a key consideration, much of the garden was built from reusable and recycled materials.

Emma added: “The compost bay, made from two wooden pallets, provides extra planting space for growing vegetables, and shows that compost bins can be integrated into the heart of a garden. And no matter how small a planting space, a tiny pond can still effectively attract water flies and all important pollinators like bees.”

The charity’s ‘Small Spaces, Big Ideas’ garden won a gold medal at the Gardeners’ World Live show in June.

Visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk for more information about, and from, Garden Organic.

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