Garden Highlight: The Rainbow Community Garden, Hull

This week our spotlight focuses on The Rainbow Community Garden in Hull. The garden was a derelict piece of land on a North Hull Housing Estate until Jeannie Webster turned it into a bustling garden at the centre of her community. She tells us about the idea and history of the garden: 

© The Rainbow Garden, Brenda Elm - The Rainbow Community Garden

Tell us some of the history behind The Rainbow Community Garden?

I came across the spare land 20 years ago and had the idea of a community garden. I wanted a place to grow some veg and salad produce with room for wildlife. A place where the community could share and learn new skills, volunteer and be proud of. Having got together with a couple of other local residents who wanted an allotment, we got into discussions with the Housing Action Trust and they finally gave us the go ahead in 1997.

We then got to work. In participation with local schools and youth groups, we made a plan and cleared up the area. The Housing Action Trust helped us a lot; they gave us the money to become a registered charity and attain a long lease, then they left us alone to get on with it.  

We officially opened in October 1998. Since then we’ve won many awards for our garden, including ‘The Green Flag Award.’ We have now gained funding for extra staff from Rank Foundation and Esme Fairburn Foundation.

What's in your Garden?

We grow lots of stuff; including, herbs, salad, veg, etc. but also have designated wildlife areas.

Why is it important to the local community?

We have a lot of community engagement. We work with local schools, social services, mental health teams and Veteran's Association – during the school holidays we hold various activities, such as arts and crafts sessions. Sometimes it is possible for anyone to just pop in to look round or sit and relax.      

We have also expanded the activities of the garden outwards. We help to take care of the land on the edge of our estate.        

The area can take pride in our garden. We have encouraged local residents to care for their own gardens and area; to grow their own plants by sharing cuttings and seeds. Our garden stands as an example for other areas to start their own.

What should visitors look out for this September for Heritage Open Days?

Anyone visiting us in September will see the garden in all its glory! We start of an exciting extension of the garden, which is to be turned into mini allotments.

The Rainbow Community Garden is just one of the gardens we’re excited about this Heritage Open Days. To find a garden you can explore, be sure to check out our directory which will go live in mid-July. And for a preview of other places within the garden theme see our previous post 'Celebrating the English Garden'.