Gardening workshops with Iqra Academy & the Bretton Community

“Bretton Park is a bit boring. We think it needs more colour and interest.”

“We should encourage birds to the area. Lots of people like to bird watch.”

“Build a shed in Bretton Park with gardening equipment in it, so local people can grow things themselves.”

Our first Bretton Greens workshop took place bright and early Wednesday morning at the Iqra Academy, an all Girls Islamic faith school with a group of Year 7 and 8 students.

The brief: come up with a creative idea to improve/enhance an area of North Bretton through gardening. The idea should be easy to maintain, of benefit to the community (give opportunity for social interaction), low cost and easy to replicate or upscale.

The workshop facilitators were the wonderful David and Gareth from Nene Park Trust and they brought with them examples with them about the kinds of interventions that could meet the brief’s demands!

  • Log seating; painted to draw out some of the local identity
  • Bulbs; low maintenance and an easy way to bring colour to outside spaces
  • Bee, bird and wildlife friendly plants and other devices to encourage animals (drill holes in wood to make a simplistic bee hotel)

It was great to hear some the young women’s wonderful ideas!
– See above for some of our favourite quotes!

To articulate ideas we had tonnes of gardening magazines on hand to cut out from as well as photos of some of the great people and wildlife friendly inclusions in Ferry Meadows (run by Nene Park Trust).

Lots wanted to add more colour to the park and were keen on the idea of painted log seats with a local design incorporated in. And plants with lots of colour were a focus of all submissions.

A focus on the legacy of these ideas remained at the forefront, which was great to see and hear. Ideas of developing sheds with tools that community members could use to continue the good work were suggested. Creating gardens that were of such a quality that no one would want to litter. Using social media to promote the park and get local people on board with taking better care of it.


Alongside the ideas-making, we were also making seed bombs to plant outside (a mix of clay, seeds, soil and dash of water); an easy, fun way to brighten up outside spaces and achieve a quick win!


Pyramid Community Centre (open workshop)

In the evening we had our open public workshop at the Pyramid Community Centre, and were joined by local groups already hot of tail of improving Bretton’s outside spaces as well as some passersby!

Our attendees included:

  • Representatives from Better Bretton’s gardening group, responsible for the wonderful flower beds at the front the Pyramid Centre
  • A member of the Parish Council and keen guerrilla gardener
  • The organiser of Bretton Belles, the local Women’s Institute (WI)
  • A leader from Bretton’s local Scout and Beaver group

This was great as we were able to see that the workshop built on the ideas already in development in the area and the incorporate the local knowledge held by these groups!

It also meant that when we come to installing the winning idea, we have a ready made group of networked individuals to rally upon!

A community garden in the former swimming pool was a favourite idea. Herb gardens were also hot on the agenda: and it was thought by all how nice it would be in locals could pop out to get a sprig of rosemary to finish off a roast (or something similar)

Again we all had a chance to make seed bombs at the close of the workshop, and this time we went outside to plant them! Look out for some wildflower cropping up in the Pyramid Community Centre Garden 🙂


For now, we are shortlisting the best 3 ideas from the two workshops combined. At the Bretton Festival you will get the opportunity to vote upon the idea you like best, which will then be installed between July and August by Nene Park Trust and the Bretton Community!

All the participants of both our workshops were also given a selection of plants to nurture, that we will then plant outside in Bretton when we install the winning design!








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