The Village of Solihull
You’re standing in a concrete housing estate.
This doesn’t look like a garden, you think.
Suddenly, you hear a bell and a bike comes around the corner with a trailer attached to it.
The rider smiles and waves and pulls up beside you, hopping off their seat.
"Welcome to the mobile garden!’" they say.
You watch on as the rider folds down the sides of their trailer, unloads tools and other equipment, and puts up an umbrella to protect you both from the heat of the midday August sun.
You look at the trailer that is attached to the bike and realise that within its walls is a tiny garden, with small sprouting vegetables and flourishing herbs.
You close your eyes and breathe in the smell of fresh mint.
As you open your eyes, you realise that a small group of children have gathered around the mobile garden.
They are, like you, admiring the plants and flowers. They reach for the tools that are on board and get to work.
One waters the vertical herb garden and a couple grab a litter picker and hoop and get to work collecting litter on the pavements. A few more pick-up magnifying glasses and notebooks and invite you to come along with them. You follow.
They take you to a small patch of grass and together you kneel by a tree. One of the children pull back some sticks and what was still suddenly turns into a hive of movement and buzzing. You join the children and squeal with excitement then get to work helping them to count the bugs and note down the different types they can find. They hand you a magnifying glass.
“Look here, this is an earthworm. Did you know that they have no arms, legs or eyes? I learnt that last week in the Bug Workshop at The Village!”
The mobile garden is in development and will be a space for exploration, excitement and connection to nature for children and adults alike. The Village hopes that wonder and life can be found and nurtured in even the most seemingly urban of environments!
Gardening engages all sorts of senses and helps children to develop and recognise them without even realising
Over 90% of Solihull residents live in an urban area, many with no access to their own gardens
The community of North Solihull live on the new HS2 train line and conserving the environment and improvising green spaces is very important here
People living in the most deprived neighbourhoods in Solihull are more exposed to environmental conditions which negatively affect health
There is increasing evidence that exposure to plants and green space, and particularly to gardening, is beneficial to mental and physical health
Aerobic activities such as digging, raking or mowing the lawn get the heart pumping and can burn as many calories or more as going to the gym
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