Gallery planning to create a ‘pocket park’ for community use

PUBLISHED: 17:30 28 December 2015 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 January 2016

The Thelma Hulbert Gallery.

The Thelma Hulbert Gallery.

Archant

The designs, exclusively revealed by the Herald, envisage a community garden thriving with local wildflowers and fruit trees, and interactive areas for families, with bug hotels, live willow archways and edible plants.

Ambitious plans have been unveiled by the Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) to transform its front area into a community garden, rich in biodiversity.

The Herald can now exclusively reveal that the Honiton-based gallery is planning to renovate its current front landscape into a ‘pocket park’, which will be open even when THG is closed.

The designs envisage a community garden thriving with local wildflowers and fruit trees, and interactive areas for families, with bug hotels, live willow archways and edible plants.

The new-look garden will also feature raised vegetable beds for green-fingered groups, as there are no allotments in Honiton, and ‘peaceful seating spaces’ for visitors to sit and enjoy.

THG is aiming to incorporate some of its heritage into its design - by using stones from its basement to create new walls and seating and using old garden plans for Elmfield House to make sure aspects ‘revive’ the Georgian garden design.

Emma Molony, project co-ordinator, said: “We have had funding from local charitable trusts such as The Mullins Trust, The Battishorne Trust, The Northbrook Trust, as well as grants from AONB East Devon, The Edward Cook Trust and Devon County Council’s locality budget.

“In total, we have raised £15,800. We are also waiting to hear in February on two grant applications – one to a charity called Grow Wild (supported by lottery funding and led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to inspire communities to transform local spaces with native wild flowers) and one to Pocket Parks, a government initiative to develop green spaces in urban areas.

“This would be for a further total of £16,620.

“As well as landscaping and planting, some of the funding is to deliver community workshops in the garden and run educational activities outside.”

THG will be working with artists to create site-specific work in the garden with groups as well as East Devon District Council’s education rangers, who will run nature trails and activities.

The garden has been designed by artist Anna Wardrop. Her portfolio includes gardens for Shoreditch House and River Café in London, as well as other UK wildlife gardens.

Emma added: “We welcome the local community to get involved either as a volunteer or as a local business interested in sponsoring seating, flowerbeds, lighting and more.

“We’ll be continuing our fundraising efforts in the new year as we’d still like to install a child-safe pond, lots of innovative seating, more interactive live plant structures for children, night-time garden lighting and sensory pathways for visitors with little or no sight.”


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