Garden Re-Leaf day momentum mounts in push that will boost community action

Community schemes kick-off fund-raising campaign with school children planting potatoes at start of growing season.

Community involvement by the garden industry will take a step forward next month when Garden Re-Leaf day kick-starts the gardening season on 13 March.

The Sun/British Potato Council events on the day will see half-a-million children at 17,000 schools planting potatoes.

Thompson & Morgan has donated 50,000 Alan Titchmarsh seed packets for the event, which will raise money for the Greenfingers children's hospice garden charity.

Garden Re-Leaf founder Boyd Douglas-Davies said he aimed to welcome the start of the gardening year with some fun. "I can see an opportunity for our industry to make a big statement when it's really needed, to engage at a local level and to launch the season in a way we've never seen before."

Hundreds of events nationwide will raise money for Greenfingers, which has built 36 children's hospice gardens and plans nine more in 2012-13 at Arundel, Belfast, Chorley, Dartford, Glasgow, Grimsby, Maidenhead, Stoke and Stockton.

Organiser Richard Jackson said: "If Garden Re-Leaf is judged a success this year and enough people support it, we will run it in 2013. I hope there will be sufficient impetus. We are talking about 2013 projects already."

For 2013, the HTA has indicated that it is likely to back the event after turning down a marketing committee request this year.

At last week's HTA community involvement day held at Coolings in Kent, consultant John Connel and Fulham Palace Garden Centre manager Chris Webb said industry bodies should support nationwide campaigns that promote the garden industry.

HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said the body had begun promotion of the event this month and would look afresh at Garden Re-Leaf in 2013.

"We have to evaluate each initiative as it comes along. If the day happens next year, we will look at it."

Garden Re-Leaf founder Boyd Douglas-Davies said: "It's brilliant news that the HTA acknowledges the potential for Garden Re-Leaf to have a beneficial part to play in the spring season."

National Supporters

- John Woods Nurseries
- Kelkay
- Scotsdales
- Scotts Miracle-Gro
- Thompson & Morgan
- Westland

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