The Orchard Nursery

Located in an old orchard owned by Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith in the village of Bedmond, Hertfordshire, a large proportion of The Orchard site is made up of The Plant Library which includes more than 1500 different varieties of herbaceous plants, low shrubs and bulbs. The collection which includes both the familiar and rare, is a unique educational resource for anyone interested in plants and design, whether they be visiting students of horticulture, gardeners, garden designers or school children.

As a key charity partner for the Serge Hill Project, Sunnyside will have exclusive access to this plant collection which will also be used as stock beds to propagate many of the plants for sale. This new facility at Serge Hill Project will enhance Sunnyside Rural Trust’s ability to grow a range of sought-after perennials on site for commercial sale whilst supporting and training vulnerable young people and adults with learning disabilities in horticulture.

The site will include a bespoke glasshouse from White Cottage, compost heaps, a mess room for Sunnyside staff, trainees and those undertaking horticultural therapy.

The project will be heavily influenced by social and therapeutic horticulture practice. This is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. Gardening is a wonderfully flexible medium that can transform lives and we see first-hand how gardening can help everyone, regardless of age or disability.

Social and therapeutic horticulture uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that help them to be more independent. Using the gardening tasks and the garden itself, Sunnyside Rural Trust’s horticultural therapists build a set of activities for each gardener to improve their health needs and to work on certain goals they want to achieve.

To find out how you can support our Orchard Nursery site, please click here.