Turner’s Nursery, Poole

Thanks to Harriet for her look at Turners Nursery.

‘Friends of Turner’s Nursery’ was formed as a subgroup of Transition BH Hub in 2010 to make productive community use of an area of land in Upper Parkstone.

Agreement with the Council to allow community use of a part of the Turner’s Nursery site was reached in April 2012. Local residents were consulted and it was decided that a wildlife-friendly Community Orchard would be the best use of the site. Natural and Productive are the key words. The first trees and hedgerow saplings were planted in November 2012, following a permaculture design. By April 2014 we had a total of 28 fruit and nut trees planted. Regular work days are held, a Core Group oversees the management of the site, a wider group of 100+ “Friends” are in touch by email or Facebook. Relations with Poole Council are good and we report to Transition BH Hub annually.

What are the plans for your project?

We have an Action Plan that is reviewed regularly. Plans are grouped under the headings Practical Projects, Governance and Funding, Community/Schools, and Further Forward.

Specific plans are to:

  • Complete the fruit tree planting (another row) in Autumn 2014
  • Build compost bins and hold training sessions
  • Purchase benches and signage
  • Build a large raised bed for lavender and rosemary
  • Liaise with the Council about landscaping the pond area
  • Plant an area of hazels for future coppicing
  • Plant currants and other productive woodland edge plants
  • Liaise with Sylvan and Branksome schools for children’s activities • Work with RSPB, ARC, DWT on increasing biodiversity
  • Install a natural topbar beehive
  • Collect aural stories about the history of Turner’s Nursery
  • Maximise habitats and keep the site looking beautiful!
  • Organise events including summer picnics and Apple Days

How are you going to achieve these plans?

It’s important for us to keep admin and maintenance tasks low and community involvement high. keeping the local residents on board and communicating regularly is key. We use the notice board, leaflets, the Echo, Facebook and email. Most people are not too concerned about how long it takes to complete a project once they understand where it’s going.

How are you going to measure your achievements?

Our Action Plan is ongoing and evolving. We hold an annual review of progress in October in the form of an open meeting with an exhibition.

What resources do you have?

Funds for materials and equipment have been raised from various sources, including the Borough of Poole, Waitrose and donations at coffee mornings. All work - admin and practical - is done on a voluntary basis.

Who is involved in your project?

The project came out of discussions at a Transition Town Poole gathering. The Friends are mostly local residents. The dog walkers were key to getting this started. We have support and encouragement from the green spaces team at Borough of Poole.

Who has benefited from your project and how?

The local residents and dog walkers are generally delighted with how it’s turning out. It looks beautiful. There were some doubters at first - people were convinced that it would be vandalised or that it was the Council’s responsibility to look after the land or that the site should be “tidied up”. People have learnt that they can take responsibility for their environment and the Council have learnt that we’re not all complainers. People are seeing that “cues for care” can be used to keep a natural green space looking beautiful while at the same time providing habitats for wildlife and food for people. A pile of sticks is no longer “mess” if people understand it’s deliberately left as a home for invertebrates. The site is no longer said to be “neglected” or “abandoned” and is no longer considered “surplus to requirement” by the Council.

We should have our first apples this year!

What has influenced the success of your project and what have your main challenges been?

Time - not having a paid administrator. Actions have to wait until a volunteer has the time and energy to implement them. It took many years and much frustration to work through the Council’s bureaucracy and to reach a point where someone said “Let’s just plant some bloody trees”.

Has there been any added value from working with the Sustainable Food City Partnership?

Not yet, but it’s early days.