Community news

Dig, Rest, and Play in the Community Rest Garden

March 10, 2023

Have you visited the Community Rest Garden yet? We spoke to the resident gardening expert, Jo Worthy-Jones from Haven 4 Wildlife about what visitors can get involved with and what she loves about nature.

When people come along to the Rest Garden, what kind of activities can they expect to get involved with?

people gardening in the rest garden

“ There are a number of activities that people can be involved in including general garden maintenance, seed sowing,  potting on, and food growing. We also encourage people to just come and enjoy the space to read, draw, or paint.  We always have time for tea and a chat but if people want to sit quietly and reflect, that’s fine as well.  We are also keen for people to learn new skills so if anyone wants to do a bit of woodwork to help the garden flourish, or for their own garden, we have tools and a workbench for that too. “

What do you think are the main benefits of having a community space like the Rest Garden?

Food grown in the rest garden

“ The Rest Garden is a little green oasis in a very urban area. It gives people a calm, relaxing place to visit and enjoy the fresh air within walking distance locally. Being outside in nature is proven to have positive benefits on mental health and wellbeing, and keeping active through gentle gardening is good for physical health too.  The garden is home to a wide range of wildlife that is often a surprise to people in such an urban setting. Growing our own food is also a great way to stay healthy and helps to keep costs down and we are on hand to offer support and advice if needed.”

What would you say is the best time of year in the Rest garden? What can people expect to see around March time?

Bee in the rest garden

“ That’s a hard question to answer! Each month has its own character and one of the joys of the garden is seeing it grow and change.  March is the time when everything seems to spring to life and it’s exciting to see the early flowers buzzing with insects such as hairy footed flower bees (a solitary bee).  Slow worms start appearing and the birds sing their little hearts out.  Vegetable planting and seed sowing allows us to cultivate an ancient instinct to reap what we sow.”

How did your gardening/nature journey start?

“ I come from a long line of gardeners. One of my grandfathers was a head gardener on a big estate and my uncle a head gardener in a big park.  My sisters both work in horticulture and my parents were very keen gardeners. I was lucky enough to grow up in a very rural setting at a time when being outside in nature was the norm. I’ve always loved and been fascinated by nature and despite a variety of jobs over the years, I was eventually fortunate enough to work for a Wildlife Trust.  My community work was mainly in urban areas so wildlife gardening became my passion. I’m keen to show people that an ‘ordinary’ garden and a garden that’s good for wildlife can be one and the same and how important our green spaces are for a declining wildlife.”

What are your favourite things about nature?

Rest garden wildflowers

“ How interconnected and totally fascinating it is. I never fail to be amazed by the beauty and intricacies of it, especially the often overlooked life in our gardens. ‘Every day’ wildlife like bees live such fascinating lives and there is always something new to learn. I hope I never lose the sense of wonder that looking at and learning about nature gives me”

What would you say to anyone who is thinking of coming along to the Rest Garden?

“ You will be given a very warm welcome!  We love sharing the space and really want people to come and enjoy it.  There’s no obligation to come along every week and if you just want to come and sit, enjoy some sunshine, read a book, have lunch, have a chat, or do some pottering about, that’s fine with us!”

Why not visit?

Rest garden flyer

If you’d like to visit the Rest Garden and see the best of the nature on our doorstep, you can pop along on Mondays and Thursdays from 9.30am until 1pm and on the second Saturday of the month from 11-1pm.