The pocket park will incorporate local wildflowers, fruit trees and interactive areas for families

Thelma Hulbert Gallery to create miniature garden for Honiton community use

Ambitious plans have been unveiled by the Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) to transform its front area into a community garden, rich in biodiversity. The transformation is due to start this February.

THG is planning to create a pocket park for community use. The designs envisage a community garden thriving with local wildflowers and fruit trees, and interactive areas for families, with bug hotels, live willow archways and edible plants.

The new-look garden will also feature raised vegetable beds for green-fingered groups and peaceful seating spaces for visitors to enjoy.

THG is aiming to incorporate its heritage into the design by using stones from the basement to create new walls and seating. The gallery also plans to revive aspects of the original Georgian garden design, using recently discovered garden plans for Elmfield House.

Emma Molony, project co-ordinator, said:

The project is entirely externally funded through donations from wildlife, environmental, arts and local trusts. The local charitable trusts include The Mullins Trust, The Battishorne Trust, The Northbrook Trust, as well as grants from AONB East Devon, The Edward Cook Trust and Devon County Council’s locality budget.

In total, we have raised £15,800. We are also waiting to hear in February about two grant applications – one we made to a charity called Grow Wild (supported by lottery funding and led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to inspire communities to transform local spaces with native wild flowers) and one to Pocket Parks, a government initiative to develop green spaces in urban areas. This would be for a further total of £16,620.

As well as landscaping and planting, some of the funding is to deliver community workshops in the garden and run educational activities outside.

THG will be working with artists to create site-specific work in the garden with groups as well as East Devon District Council’s education rangers, who will run nature trails and activities.

The garden has been designed by artist Anna Wardrop. Her portfolio includes gardens for Shoreditch House and River Café in London, as well as other UK wildlife gardens.

Emma added:

We welcome the local community to get involved either as a volunteer or as a local business interested in sponsoring seating, flowerbeds, lighting and more.

We’ll be continuing our fundraising efforts this year as we’d still like to install a child-safe pond, lots of innovative seating, more interactive live plant structures for children, night-time garden lighting and sensory pathways for visitors with little or no sight.