Parish garden project offers a sustainable future

An inner-city parish is challenging people across the Salford Diocese to adopt a “waste not, want not” lifestyle in a bid to build a more sustainable future.

The Parish of the Sacred Heart and St Francis began work on its community garden almost 10 years ago, transforming a grassy area of land into a breath-taking garden, complete with allotment and polytunnel, for the whole community.

Lovingly cared for by a dedicated team of volunteers, the garden is an inspiring example of sustainability; a success story of how reusing and recycling can generate a new lease of life.

Parishioner and volunteer Wendy Schofield said: “We try to recycle and reuse practically everything.

“We try to keep seeds so we can reuse them next year and we reuse all of our plant pots.

“We need to use what we’ve already got rather than going out and buying new things. It’s cost effective for the parish for one, and it’s about reusing what we can so we’re not impacting the environment.”

Parishioners also bring their used flower baskets to be renewed with new flowers instead of going out and buying a new basket.

Wendy explained: “We don’t use weedkiller because we want to be as friendly as possible to the insects.

“It’s important to be as gentle as we can, so we use beer to entice the slugs away from the plants and white vinegar for the weeds.

“We’re also keeping naturally wild areas to encourage wildlife and more biodiversity.”

The team are also turning to Mother Nature to help nourish the luscious array of plants, shrubs, and bushes in the garden’s borders.

Instead of using manufactured fertilisers, volunteers make their own from a mixture of comfrey plants, leaf mould, banana skins, and even pot ash from the church’s biomass boiler.

Parish priest Father Kevin Murphy is delighted by the progress of the garden.

He said: “The volunteers are fantastic. They are out there in the garden in all weathers, all year round – even through Christmas and the depths of winter. They put in incredible hours.

“We’d love to see more people use the garden, particularly people outside our parish and people who might not have gardens of their own.”

Full story from the Diocese of Salford.

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