Swindon eco-teen Jade Jones has donated £74 to Queen’s Park Community Garden in the town centre which is the amount raised from her participation as Teen Earth Girl Swindon during 2011.
Jade, who competed in Miss Teen Earth representing Swindon last year and walked away with first runner’s up award at the glittering Grand Final, was set with a challenge to raise funds for Miss Earth’s ‘Girls4Trees’ community project , where funds raised go to organisations within the entrant’s hometown.
She chose to work closely with Swindon’s emerging secret garden and has awarded the garden her cash prize to help fund access for people with disabilities.
Jade said: "The disabled access and the Queen’s Park Garden itself may not be completed for some time yet as it’s a large project but the project for the garden is ongoing and I’m just very proud to do what ever i can for this special project."
Jade expressed how excited she was to be able to promote such a campaign through Miss Earth’s "Girls4Trees" Community Project fund, and hopes to go on to do more so she can help transform Swindon and surrounding areas that need some tender loving care through the funds i helped to raise as part of my challenge.
Miss Earth the big sister of Miss Teen Earth celebrates it’s 12th year of beauty and responsibility as an international televised beauty and award ceremony. Miss Earth is unique in terms of beauty awards across the globe as it has a positive message of promoting environmental awareness and promote a clean and healthy lifestyle. Contestants must have a strong knowledge of their country’s culture and environment in order to fulfil the ideals of this competition.
For more information on TEEN Earth Girl UK or if you would like to follow in the footsteps of Jade. 2012 entries from Swindon to take over Jades reign as Miss Teen Earth Swindon 2012 are now being accepted online at www.missearthgirls.co.uk
About Queen’s Park Community Garden
Overall vision for the site
Queen’s Park forms a green oasis (of approximately 12 acres) in the centre of Swindon town centre. The proposed site sits within the park boundaries, on the south-western side. Previously a rose garden, this part of the park has a history of being formally laid out and is enclosed by a close clipped traditional Yew hedge and raised pathway. It was closed to the public and falling into disrepair until our small group of dedicated volunteers started gardening in April 2011. The future design and development of the site will need to fulfil the needs of a contemporary community garden whilst respecting the formal legacy of the site.
The overall aim of our project is to create a vibrant communal garden area which can be used by everyone to develop food growing & gardening skills, and to strengthen relationships between individuals and diverse community groups.
These are the principles that we would like the community garden to operate on:
• Educational skill sharing
• Shared Communal Activity
• Inclusive & Fun
• Sustainable Practices
• Low Impact
• Locally sourced materials
• Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
• Beneficial to biodiversity
The garden is laid out in 4 quadrants with grass walkways, which divides the space into zoned areas. These areas need to be developed as part of the overall plan and will incorporate both formal and informal planting, themed areas, walkways and structures. We would like to see the centre of the garden as a focal point and we will look to provide seating and a feature in this area.
The four zones
• An open plan area for meetings and gatherings, with the possibility of some seating and planting designed in. Disabled access from the main gate.
• An area for growing vegetables, incorporating a 4 bed organic raised bed system (note; beds already laid out).
• A wildlife area, incorporating pond.
• A designed area, which we are calling a sensory garden, incorporating raised areas, imaginative planting, structures.
We would also like to include the following:
• Flower beds surrounding the site.
• Fruit including canes, shrubs and trees to be integrated into the design throughout the garden.
• Raised beds with disabled access.
• A green house and cold frames for winter growing and propagating.
• A central structure for growing grape vines/climbers/fruit.
• Compost bins, water recycling tanks, wormery.
• Small storage shed for hand tools/ rest room.
• Signs indicating the location of the community garden and interpretation within the garden itself.
Accessibility and use of the site
The site will be open to all sections of the community living in the Swindon area and all members will be eligible to volunteer and take part in activities. The garden needs to be made accessible to people with disabilities with a ramp going down to the main areas and the creation of some elevated raised beds that people with limited mobility can access.
We have encouraged local schools to use the garden for creating and growing their own vegetable and flower beds and, in the future, we also hope to enable local school groups to use their creativity in garden art or design. For example, they could design and plant up a colourful border, create modern scarecrows or make mosaic pictures on the patio and grass areas.
We will adopt a range of different planting and cultivation techniques to provide year round visual interest. This will include perennial and herbaceous plants as well as herbs, fruit and vegetables. This will not be an allotment, however, we will use the garden to demonstrate the possibilities of gardening and what can be grown locally. Our intention is that the garden will adapt and change over the years so we are initially gathering as much local interest in the garden as early as possible by encouraging people to bring donations of seeds, cuttings, shrubs and plants. We would like to incorporate the food grown in the garden into community social events where people can see the different ways our food is prepared throughout a variety of cultural styles, which are all present and reflected in the local community.
The wildlife friendly area will be a demonstration of what can be done to encourage beneficial predators and avoid sending material into the waste stream. It will contain habitat piles, different designs of dead hedging, a pond with gently sloping edges, a small (manageable) wildflower meadow area and an interpretive board. The area will also demonstrate how it is possible to incorporate wildlife friendly features into a garden without an area looking neglected or scruffy.