College nursery supports charity at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

College nursery supports charity at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Garden design

Pershore College’s Avonbank Nurseries are providing horticultural charity Thrive with a range of plants for it ‘life changing’ floral border at BBC Gardeners’ World Live event at the NEC this week (16-19 June).

Thrive is a national charity with a local heart and uses gardening to help people with disabilities, ill health, or those who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. Social and therapeutic horticulture is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. It also uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.

Thrive also supports people training to be social and horticultural therapists with its training and education programme and the Professional Development Diploma run in conjunction with Coventry University and students often attend Pershore College as part of this.

Thrive has been working with Josh Egan-Wyer, Nursery Manager, to source the plants to depict an old English cottage garden which will include rambling and climbing roses, lillies, clematis, salvia and healing plants such as rosemary and lavender.

Josh said, “We were delighted to be involved in this project as Pershore College already shares close links with Thrive – we welcome students from their diploma course and former Pershore student and TV Gardener David Domoney is an ambassador for Thrive too.

“The floral border is going to be a stunning addition to the show and I’m sure the visitors will enjoy it as well as learning about Thrive’s important work.”

The floral border known as ‘The Life Changing Garden’ has been developed by Thrive horticultural therapists Amanda Fields and Deborah Stubbs who are based at the charity in Kings Heath Park.

The garden is inspired by the world famous novel ‘The Secret Garden’ where a young girl finds solace in a locked and neglected walled garden at Misselthwaite Manor. Over time, the garden ‘heals’ her after being orphaned and she brings it back to life,making new friends and learning gardening skills along the way.

Amanda said: ‘Taking inspiration from this wonderful story we can show how powerful
the garden environment is.

‘The story deals with bereavement, disability, loneliness, isolation, anxiety and poor physical health which are some of the reasons why people come to Thrive.

‘We have seen first-hand how gardening can help everyone, regardless of age or disability and use gardening as a form of therapy allowing people living with disabilities or ill health, or those who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable to make positive changes to their lives, feeling happier, healthier, and more confident.’

Find out more about Thrive at

Pershore College offers a range of horticultural courses – for more information go to  or call 0300 456 0049.

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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