#Hampton Court proves a big hit for #Southend
12th July 2011
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Home Front garden scores major hit at Hampton Court

A wartime-style garden created by Southend Youth Offending Service is proving a breathtaking attraction at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011.

Admiring visitors are gathering in droves round the special Home Front garden, made by the collective efforts of around 40 Southend young people aged ten to 18, currently involved in the youth justice system.

They used recycled materials, were given advice and help by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council‟s Parks Department, and were supported with sponsorship from Moles Seeds, Majestic Trees and Oxford Green Roofs.

The young people have depicted a typical suburban garden between 1939 and 1945 during the Second World War, where food shortages, rationing and Government slogans such as „Dig for Victory‟ encouraged everyone to grow their own produce.

As a result, the garden features vegetables such as cone beetroot, onions, cabbages, potatoes, kale, parsnip, parsley, tomatoes, and nasturtiums – with edible leaves.

There are also flowers such as lupins and hollyhocks, a honeysuckle trellis, a potting shed, part of an Anderson shelter, and wartime memorabilia including a helmet, loaned from Southend Museum.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council‟s Executive Councillor for Children and Learning, Councillor Mark Flewitt said: “Huge congratulations and thanks to all who have contributed to this most stirring exhibit. The garden is having a lasting effect on those who have made it, those who have already seen it, and those who will visit it in future.

“The value of this Youth Offending Service project cannot be underestimated. One of the young people who helped create the garden is now going on to study at a renowned agricultural and horticultural college, and another has already started a job with a landscaping firm.

“It is sparking off many reminiscences for older visitors to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show who remember gardens like this from their childhoods. Even more importantly, however, it is also boosting the reputation and self esteem of young people involved in the Youth Offending Service. This is a vital step forward on their journey towards turning their lives around.”

After the Hampton Court Show finishes, the bronze award-winning garden, designed by Tony Wagstaff, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council‟s Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Worker, will be rebuilt at Southend Parks Nursery where it will continue to be used as an educational resource for youngsters studying wartime life.

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Claire T

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