7th birthday celebrations for Bristol Community Plant Project

​ Participants, families, guests and staff joined a reception at Bristol Zoo Gardens to celebrate the seventh year of its award-winning Bristol Community Plant Project.

The project involves schools and community groups around the city growing different varieties and species of Calendula, more commonly known as pot marigold.

The collection is managed centrally by gardening experts at Bristol Zoo Gardens but the plants are grown at different sites across the city. This reduces the chances of cross-pollination and the plants not growing ‘true’ to their original form the following year.

This is the first time a plant collection has been managed in this way and it is the very first ‘seed dispersed national plant collection’ and Royal Horticultural Society Plant Heritage Collection.

Guests from participating groups joined the garden party at the Zoo this week, including Shire Greens, Hartcliffe Health and Environment Action Group, Holy Cross Primary School and Upper Horfield Primary School.

Plants grown by the groups were on display, along with soap-making demonstrations using Calendula petals, and a display of specially commissioned artwork featuring Calendula plants by local artist Jenny Brooks.

Thomas Pursey, gardens senior supervisor at Bristol Zoo said, “The Bristol Community Plant Project is designed to teach and nurture practical skills, a love of nature and to also enrich participants’ quality of life as well as aiding personal development.

“We are pleased to see so many participants at the reception and celebrate another successful year of the project together.”

Bristol Zoo currently holds 12 species of Calendula and, as well as the plants, horticulturists at the Zoo have created a seed bank and a herbarium of dried, pressed plant specimens. In the future the team also hope to establish a digital pollen record for the plants.

The Bristol Community Plant Project is kindly sponsored by Cedar Care Homes – a family business, which owns and operates care homes in Bristol, Bath, Chester and Cheshire.

All homes provide residential care for those who are finding it difficult to cope at home, and nursing care for those who need clinical/medical assistance.

At Cedar Care Homes, people will be part of a happy and stimulating household, where standard of care improves the quality of life for everyone – ADDING LIFE TO YEARS.

The partnership between the Zoo and Cedar Care Homes sees staff from the Zoo visiting care homes to engage with residents. 


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