Cantray Park is the social enterprise arm of Cantraybridge College and, as such, the Social Enterprise Team works closely with the College students who, as part of their training, produce various products and crafts for sale. As part of our work to raise the social enterprise profile of the quality products made by our young people, we asked one of the teams – The Cantraybridge Gardeners – to write a blog entry for us. We’re hoping this is the first of many as the Gardeners raise their profile with our customers over the next year! Here, in their own words, is their contribution to our blog page and we are delighted to host this entry on their behalf!
Cantraybridge Gardeners Blog
This will be our first Blog so here goes!
Gardening in Scotland does not come without its challenges and in the North of Scotland this is no exception. Each day brings new challenges along with a large possibility that every season will be experienced in one day. The plans you make for the week changes not just daily but sometimes hourly! Flexibility is a must at Cantraybridge.
Working in the gardens at Cantraybridge brings much enjoyment to the students. There is a wide variety to choose from whether it is working in the polytunnel, greenhouse, potting shed, raised beds or in the Shop garden. The College gardens require a lot of maintenance and up keep and much pride is shown by the effort the students put in to keep to the high standards.
The work varies for the Gardeners and begins early in the year with sowing annuals and various perennials. Great enjoyment is gained by watching a tray of seedlings pop up and progress through to a flowering delight.
The perennials we grow are over wintered here and are sold through the shop, if they survive a Cantray winter then they will survive almost anywhere and can honestly be sold as hardy!
The annuals are used to make decorative summer displays around the College grounds and for use in containers and baskets. The special ones are kept back and used for our entries into the Black Isle Flower Show and the Nairn Flower Show where we usually enjoy modest results!
As the season changes the work changes and moves from primping and preening the flower beds to digging out and replenishing the soil with the nutrients we have stolen throughout the year.
This is the stage we are currently at and its quite pleasant working in the polytunnel knowing that the plans are already forming in the back of our mind for next year’s bounty.