This summer we were contacted by the organisers of the Shrewsbury Flower Show to see if we could put on a display about the work our allotment community does with children. There is a marquee at the show called the Futures Marquee and we were allocated some space in this marquee to illustrate how we work with the youngsters at Bowbrook Allotment Community to encourage them to become the gardeners of the future, the wildlife lovers of the future and ultimately the wildlife gardeners of the future.
But to give a full picture we need to go back a few days to a wet morning on the allotments when we met with some families and committee members to put together some insect hotels and wildlife shelters and pot on some tree seedlings the youngsters had sown 2 years ago. The pots we were using had also been painted by the youngsters. We had great fun! And dirty hands!
We arrived to set up our exhibit a few days prior to the first day of the show but struggled to find the correct marquee as there were no signs up, but by asking several stewards we did manage to locate it and parked up our two vehicles right outside. We definitely needed to be close as our car and Pete and Sherlie’s camper van were loaded solid without an inch to spare. We unloaded our materials and miscellaneous bits and pieces.
We had a message from the show organisers informing us that our tables and screens were all up ready for us to be creative and put up our display, so imagine our despair when we walked in the marquee to find nothing in place and a huge dividing wall cutting through our space. We had a pile of tables and some some broken and the others the wrong size!
So we set to work getting help from the marquee erectors and a very helpful steward. We found enough screens, we put up our tables and even got the dividing screen moved.
Once we had sorted the problems out we could at last get creative. We arranged our 3 trestle tables and display screens in the design we wanted and unloaded the vehicles. There looked so much to do! We covered the table tops with black paper to give a uniform look …….
….. and started pulling it all together.
Frequent coffee breaks were essential!
On the back side of the long run of screens we created a photographic journey around our Interest Trail.
After a few very busy hours it all came together and we were pretty pleased with it. Our display illustrated how we encourage the children of Bowbrook Allotment Community to engage with wildlife and to discover the joys of gardening. It showed how we help develop the gardeners of the future, and ultimately the wildlife gardeners of the future.
We featured mini-meadows our youngsters had grown in terra-cotta pots and insect shelters and hotels they had made.
We left the show site to return 3 days later to meet the public and talk about our work with children at our allotments. This is the display as we arrived ready for the show.
Day one was extremely wet so quiet at the show but day two was brighter and busy all day. We went home with sore throats and aching legs.