Tag Archives: Ryton Gardens

Trying to answer my question about GO going

I still cannot imagine GO without a garden. Part of my attachment to the gardens is personal; going there literally did change my life and gave me many extra years.

I first went to Ryton to visit the café which was in a wooden shed at the back of the shop. Then I found the gardens and the organic growing stuff. I went back many times and the gardens were always a place to see stuff growing, understand how brassica collars worked, learn the best way to deter slugs and importantly how to make compost. Seeing it, touching it, smelling it was a vital part of the experience.

So, back to the question, I do not think that GO should, well go. There certainly needs to be a ‘root and branch’ overhaul of everything starting with a concerted publicity campaign to get more visitors to the garden. The next is real consultation with members about the way forward. That means being honest and open, not just trying to justify the decisions taken by council, in secret, behind closed doors

There are rumours of a £1.2 million hole in the pension fund. Not sure how that has come about but if that is the main reason to sell then the decision verges on insanity. There are other ways to raise money which could include selling SOME the land or developing SOME in different ways that retains the bulk of the gardens. There are also other ways to raise money but that means being creative and asking for help.

Again, I make this plea to GO, please talk to us! You keep saying there are 20,000 members so why are you ignoring such a valuable resource? There is no need to waste precious funds on expensive PR companies to argue your case all you need to do is engage with members.

And PLEASE, PLEASE postpone the sale until we have had a chance to talk about all possible options.

Saving Ryton Organic Gardens

It was very distressing to hear that Garden organic is selling Ryton gardens. I first went there nearly 40 years ago when I was recovering from a life changing illness. I decided to grow organic food and have never looked back. I strongly believe that ‘being organic’ and eating good food has helped me to survive and confounded the doctors who cannot understand why I am still here! There will be many similar stories.

The big question is how much will it take to save Ryton? There are rumours of £1.2m hole in the pension fund. They keep saying they are considering all options so why the rush to sell? There must be a way of saving the place.

Please sign the petition to halt the sale

Garden Organic sells Ryton retail arm – the end of an era

According to a recent article in Horticulture Week,  Garden Organic has agreed that Webbs will take over the running of the GO retail arm which includes the, shop, catering and conference facilities at Ryton Gardens. (Please note: the Organic Gardening Catalogue is not included in this deal.)  The article also mentions redundancy negotiations with 90 staff.

As a long time member of HDRA and now Garden organic I am shocked and surprised by this announcement. To sell out the retail arm to a garden centre group is an amazing development. Ryton Gardens have always been the showcase organic gardens and the organic restaurant has won awards for many years. With the new ‘garden centre’ selling organic and non-organic products how can the site retain its organic credentials?

What bothers me most is that GO has been a campaigning organisation and have done extremely valuable work to promote the organic gardening message. Will they still do that? What about member’s services? There are so many questions that need answers as soon as possible.

Please see the comment from Myles Bremner (Chief Exec) which clarifies the position and offers some reassurance about Ryton’s organic status. What bothers me is that members should hear the news from a commercial press site rather than from GO direct. That only serves to encourage rumours and unease about such major changes.