Otley: College’s garden bursts into life

The opening of the Wishing Well Garden at Otley College

The opening of the Wishing Well Garden at Otley College - Credit: Andy Abbott

New horticultural facilities at a college in Suffolk have been officially opened.

The area, based at the Otley campus of Easton and Otley College, was named the “Wishing Well Garden” and was opened by students who helped create the space.

The garden also contains raised beds, pergolas and growing areas for flowers, fruit and vegetables.

Half of the area will be used for growing plants that the public can buy while the other half will be an area for students to hone their skills and work with lecturers and industry professionals.

Part of the reasoning behind the investment in the horticultural department is to try and encourage more people to take up courses in an industry that is in desperate need of new recruits.

Martyn Davey, head of landbased studies, said: “The development of these facilities will certainly help give our learners the chance to work with real products in a relaxed and professional horticultural environment.

“The industry is suffering from a real skills shortfall at the moment, therefore it is essential that organisations such as ourselves do as much as we can to try and encourage the next generation coming through.

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“As well as investment, we need to promote the fact that pay is generally good and opportunities are out there for skilled trainees.”

The Otley campus will also open new greenhouses later in the year.

David Lawrence OBE, principal of Easton and Otley College, said: “We are grateful that local industry experts were able to come along and support us.

“As an educational facility it is essential that we talk to industry to ensure that we are providing the right training for the next generation of specialists coming through.”

Similar investment of horticultural facilities at the Easton campus will be carried out in the next year.