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Garden Organic to Open New Demonstration Garden

Published on June 29th 2021

The garden alitex with veg patch

by Shaun Fellows. Copyright

A close up of a flower garden
Garden Organic is to open a new demonstration garden to inspire the nation to grow flowers, fruit and vegetables in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner.
The environmentally friendly demonstration garden has been created on the part of the former 22-acre Ryton Organic Gardens in Coventry, which were sold to Coventry University in 2019 and closed to the public. Garden Organic leased a smaller plot in a bid to spread the word about organic growing, with the garden now scheduled to open on 9th July after a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to demonstrating practices and principles of organic gardening, the demonstration garden will help visitors deal with climate change challenges such as drought and flooding.
A person standing in front of a window posing for the camera
Pictured: Emma O'Neill, Head Gardener at Garden Organic | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd
Garden Organic head gardener Emma O’Neill told Candide: “There has been a massive uptake in organic gardening. People want to know where their food has come from, and by growing your own organically, you know exactly what has gone into the soil while crops taste better.
“We will be demonstrating how best to look after the soil, showing comparisons of areas with no-dig and dug beds to see what works best, with demonstrations and trials of different mulches. Composting is a big focus at the garden, along with water-saving, enhancing biodiversity, increasing wildlife, companion planting and crop rotation techniques,” Emma added.
Potager area has 4 large beds used for crop rotation. Squash, courgette sweetcorn shown
Potager area has 4 large beds used for crop rotation. Squash, courgette and sweetcorn are shown | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

A large wooden composting bin
Compost bins | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

Planting infront of a glasshouse
Planting infront of the Alitex | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

Preserving heritage veg

Garden Organic’s demonstration garden will be split into three areas: a kitchen garden, floral garden and main working area. Featuring a four-bed crop rotation system, the kitchen garden showcases unusual and endangered vegetable varieties preserved by Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library.
Highlights include the Freer’s Mummy Pea, rumoured to have come from the tomb of Tutankhamun, as well as Black Valentine, a dwarf French bean that was first recorded in 1897 and is cultivated at Highgrove. In addition, visitors will be able to see more than 16 types of comfrey – a plant that’s ideal for making nutrient-rich organic liquid fertiliser.
Companion planting will be a key theme, focusing on how to attract a range of natural pest predators into gardens, such as ladybirds, lacewings and predatory wasps. Emma explained: “Organic gardening is about not using any pesticides or chemicals, so you need to attract beneficial insects that act as the gardener’s friend. This is achieved by growing as many different varieties of plants as possible to create a more diverse garden.”
With more people growing edibles in tiny gardens or living in rented accommodation, the area features a container garden and raised beds to help gardeners with limited space to grow their own.
Terracotta pots stacked on a shelf against a white wall
Pictured: The gardens comfrey collection in the container garden | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

Swiss chard - HSL variety
Pictured: Swiss chard HSL variety | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

HSL varieties Bronze Arrow (purple), Burpees Iceberg Lettuces
Pictured: HSL varieties Bronze Arrow (purple) and Burpees Iceberg | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

Right plant, right place

Comprising three large beds, the floral garden will introduce gardeners to flowers suitable for hot, dry, damp and shady conditions. Displays of plants for dry environments include Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dr Jean Varnier’, Achillea ‘Red Velvet’ and Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’. For visitors with poorly drained soil, recommendations include Persicaria affinis ‘Superba’, which provides year-round colour, and Alchemilla mollis.
Those keen to embrace organics can take inspiration from plants to attract pollinators, such as Tetrapanax papyrifer, the Chinese rice-paper plant, which is a magnet for bees, along with the coneflowers Helenium 'Wyndley' and Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'. Other pollinator-friendly stars include Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’, which features vibrant red spikes.
A picture of a rudbekia yellow flower
Pictured: Rudbeckia | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

A veg patch full of green plants and a large glasshouse
Pictured: The garden alitex next to the veg patch | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

A garden with water in the background
A pond area can also be found at the demonstration garden | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

Showcase for alpines

The garden, which Viridian Nutrition has supported, will be home to a display of 30 alpines dedicated to Garden Organic founder Lawrence Hills – a specialist alpine grower who created displays at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. A pond area will feature, too, demonstrating how even a small pool of water can enhance biodiversity in gardens.
Visitors will also be able to explore Garden Organic’s working areas such as its glasshouse and polytunnel, home to fast-growing crops such as radish, lettuce and spring onions. Masterclasses set to be delivered will encompass topics such as gardening for biodiversity, seed saving and climate-change gardening.
To enable social distancing, visits to the demonstration garden will be via pre-booked tours and courses only. Visit for information.
A picture of a insect hotel in a wooden shed
Pictured: A bug hotel at Ryton Gardens | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

A picture of a cold frame full of potted plants and vegetables
Pictured: Garden vegetables being hardened off in a cold frame | Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

A close up of a wildflower flower garden
Pictured: Phacelia and Calendula | Shaun Copyright | Shaun Fellows Shine Pix Ltd

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