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Dig the City garden breaks down the barriers

DIg the City

Salford’s Pendleton Together regeneration project is breaking down barriers at Manchester’s summer gardening festival Dig the City which opened this week. The week-long festival started on Friday (31 July), and features gardens and flower displays created by organisations from across the city.

Pendleton Together has teamed up with Salford University, local schools, artists and community groups to create the ‘Friendly Fences’ garden which is dedicated to reinventing the idea of fences and barriers. The garden shows how fences, walls and natural barriers can be used to improve communities and to help wildlife and the environment.

The display has been designed by Altrincham-based landscape gardening specialist Planit-IE and features a hedge with ‘windows’ cut in it to allow neighbours to talk to each other.

 The display also includes walls with climbing plants such as summer fruit bushes, a teepee made from runner beans, and a wall made from recycled wooden crates. Other walls are devoted to ‘growing your own’ with window boxes or old wellies planted up with strawberries, lettuce, spinach and radishes.

 Pendleton Together’s garden is also designed to showcase the work it is doing in Salford to regenerate the Pendleton area of the city. The regeneration is a partnership between Together Housing Group, Keepmoatand Salford City Council.

A £650 million housing-led regeneration programme is currently delivering improvements to 1,250 council-owned homes and building 1,600 new energy efficient houses. Improvements to local parks and open spaces are also included in the plans.

Green Fingered Steve Close, Group Chief Executive of Pendleton Together, said: “Fences are all too often designed purely to keep people apart. But dull wooden fences or railing which only separate are a thing of the past. With a little imagination and creativity we can create fun, grow stuff to eat and forage and are natural barriers which are good for people and nature.

“We designed the Friendly Fences garden to show how we can rethink boundaries to encourage play, experimentation and learning - and to grow food and attract wildlife. It’s very much been a community effort with local schools and groups getting involved in making the different features in the garden.”

“In many ways the garden reflects the values and ideas behind the Pendleton Together regeneration programme - which is all about working with communities to improve the places where people live.”

Visitors to the garden on King Street will also get chance to create bird feeders, seed bombs (with agricultural expert Dr Mike Hardman) and bug hotels to take home for their own gardens. Or you can get on your bike to create a fresh fruit smoothie - using a pedal-powered blender.

A team made up of staff from Transport for Greater Manchester and the University of Salford’s Solar Factory have also designed a fun, peddle-powered ‘water wall’ designed to show how energy is created and used. The challenge pits two cyclists against each other in a ‘water challenge’ to see who can peddle fastest and fill up a bucket of water quickest.

Volunteers from Pendleton tenants and residents groups also helped to create the display, with a little help from Lark Hill Community Primary School, West Sure Start Children’s Centre and local artists Amber Sanchez and David Lowther. The Lighthouse Community Training supplied deckchairs for the garden, and kitchen staff will be leading lessons on how to cook a cheap and nutritious meal.

Friendly Fences has been sponsored by Together Housing Group, Keepmoat, Pendleton Co-operative and Pendleton One.

On Friday, at the launch of Dig the City event, the Friendly Fences garden was judged alongside 27 other stunning garden designs created by professional and amateur gardens, community groups and businesses. TV gardening celebrity Diarmuid Garvin cast an expert eye over each of the gardens. Friendly Fences was awarded a Silver Gilt by the gardening expert.

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