Cultivation Street announces garden centre winners

Ambassadors of the Year for David Domoney's Cultivation Street garden centre ambassador who has given best support and advice to their local communities gardening projects and school gardens are Notcutts Garden Centre, Dobbies Southport and Old Railway Line.

Notcutts' Miles Butterworth is an "outstanding ambassador and has helped many people in the local community as well as supporting schools with their gardening projects".

One of the projects he is most proud of is one that brought different generations together through gardening. Working with National Citizen Service (NCS), a group of six 17-19 year olds embarked on making over the garden of a local elderly residential home. The teenagers had no previous gardening experience and Butterworth was able to build the confidence of the team by advising on design, planting and gardening techniques.

He also helped a local family to create a sensory garden for their child with Down's syndrome to enjoy. He advised on the perfect plants to create vibrant colour, different textures to feel as well as scent and auditory stimulus in the garden. He also recently helped a family plan their garden when they asked for help to create a garden in memory of a family member who had been a keen gardener that had passed away.

He is happiest when he is helping others and has facilitated many school visits to the garden centre so that teachers can bring a visual and practical dimension to the curriculum. Miles has also given talks to local schools and arranged for donations including bulbs to be donated to schools for children to plant and nurture.

Julie Murray, marketing director at Notcutts, said: "Miles is warm and approachable and conveys his expertise in a friendly easy to understand way and has inspired many people to have a go at gardening that may not have done so before.’ 

Domoney said: "This guy goes above and beyond helping the schools and communities in his local area. It makes a big difference starting a gardening project to have someone giving you free advice and support and Miles certainly gives that in spades fulls."

Second was Dobbies' Southport's Zoe Stanmore. After realising that many of the children in her Little Seedling Club (Dobbies’ kids gardening club) were unable to put any of their new found skills to use due to not having a garden at home, Zoe decided to do something about it.

She set about turning some derelict land behind the store into an allotment for their use.

Stanmore worked tirelessly in her own time to transform the area, involving her Little Seedlings Club when possible.

The once derelict plot of land is now host to a fruit, vegetable and wildlife area - complete with bug hotel, log pile and wildflowers to bug hunt in.

The kids go crazy for it, and can’t wait to get stuck in and get their hands dirty. Zoe has done a great job of giving a new generation the chance to practice horticultural skills when they wouldn’t have been able to.

She said: "The Little Seedlings feel a new sense of responsibility and it’s rewarding for them to know that they have grown something to eat and are doing there bit to help nature. I’m very proud of our group as I can see I’ve got some real eco warriors who will look after the garden and all its inhabitants." 

Domoney said: "Zoe is right up there in my respect for her work with her local schools and neighbourhood gardeners. Her passion for giving free encouragement, knowledge and enthusiasmis a credit to Dobbies garden centre."

Third was The Old Railway Line's Katie Eckley. Their plantarea staff have encouraged customers to enter the Cultivation Street campaign verbally, and they have also met with several interested community groups.

These meetings have been perfect opportunities to get members of the public out into the community, knocking on people’s doors and sharing the idea of Cultivation Street throughout the community.

They also attached a ‘Local Doorstep Challenge’ to their promotion efforts to encourage people to take part. Many people they spoke to mentioned their fear of a national competition and felt they had little chance of winning.

Eckley and the team told them that wasn’t the case and offered them all the information and advice they needed to spruce up their street and win this year’s Cultivation Street!

Joe Aldworth, marketing manager at Old Railway Line Garden Centre said: ‘"Katie has engaged with the community in a number of ways in order to promote community gardening through the Cultivation Street campaign. She has used all of the marketing tools available to them, alongside face-to-face meetings with interested parties."

Domoney said: "Katie has shown a cleaver and inivotive approach to helping schools and communities, not only existiog ones but also supporting projects starting up for the first time. She has made her garden centre proud."

All won HTA National Garden Gift Vouchers.

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