It is a real pity that Ryton Gardens will no longer be open to the public. It was major tourist attraction in the past and Garden Organic will lose a lot by closing it. How many other casual visitors were inspired by what they saw? A much smaller garden, closed to the public except for occasional open days is no substitute.
We need an organisation to promote and encourage organic growing both to improve food security and to combat climate change. Part of that has to be a place where good practice can be seen by casual visitors. Most of all we need an organisation that can recognise the crucial role that sustainable food growing has in combating climate change.
Maybe it is time for a new group, charity or organisation to take over that role and really get things moving. Take a look at the edible garden display at RHS Harlow Car to see what can be done. I Just wish the gardens were organic.
It is good to hear that Garden Organic have finally secured a deal with Coventry University for the purchase of the site. The bad news is that they will close the gardens to the public later this month.
It will not be the same when as I visited for tea and scones nearly 30 years ago and discovered organic gardening. I was recovering from a life threatening illness. Finding organic growing at Ryton not only saved my life it is where I met my partner of 21 years!
Ryton Gardens a few years back
It is two years since the Garden Organic announced they were looking to sell the site for housing. After a concerted campaign against that they started talking to Coventry University who have been long term tenants.
Why sell the gardens?
At the time there were justifications for the sale like “organic is now mainstream” which totally missed the point and made wrong assumptions about public knowledge of organics. Their aims and actions should always have been to engage and educate through demonstration gardens, courses, the dissemination of research and by working with members and local groups. It is encouraging to see those intentions restated in the three-year, 2019-2021, business plan:
“By 2023, there will be Garden Organic networks of local organic groups, organic demonstration gardens, education and training events, projects and programmes, and Ambassadors/Trustees throughout the UK.”
Having not visited the RHS garden at Harlow Carr for about 7 years I was pleasantly surprised by the changes to the site. There is a new library and education building, new gardens and work was in progress on the stream at the bottom of the slope.
I was surprised and delighted to see the fantastic new fruit and veg gardens. There were lots of ideas there including growing potatoes in a wooden bed which had six lift out bags.
A few years back the RHS seems to be stuck in a rut doing that same old stuff over and over but now they seems to be right on message. It is well worth the trip to Harrogate.