Gardeners’ World to feature Chelmsley Wood balcony gardens

An innovative project to create new balcony gardens at a social housing scheme in Chelmsley Wood is to feature on Gardeners’ World.

The team from the BBC Two show, now in its 51st year will feature presenter Frances Tophill who will be joining in with the transformation of three balconies at WM Housing’s Fillingham Court and the reveal will be aired on Gardeners’ World on Wednesday the 25th July at 9pm on BBC2.

They’ll be visiting a community garden in the heart of a housing estate which provides free fresh food to residents as well as helping to transform three balconies at a social housing scheme into a cottage garden, tropical paradise and an edible balcony.

The project, funded by WM Housing, the National Lottery and National Grid is the brainchild of the Chelmsley Wood community interest company Gro-Organic.

Project lead Stacey Sammons has been working with the residents of the three-floor 40 apartment scheme for the over 55s since the beginning of the year.

“The work on the balconies is the culmination of six months’ consultation with the residents which has helped build community spirit and boost their well-being,” she said.

“Every day in our work we see the transformative effects of gardening on communities and individuals’ physical and mental health and that’s certainly been the case at Fillingham Court. We’re really excited about this project and it will be great for the residents to feature on Gardeners’ World.”

The gardening has been inspired by the interests of the residents and takes account of the growing aspects of each balcony including the space available and levels of sun, shade and wind.

Residents Carol Panton (67) and Phil Roberts (70) have helped design their Victorian oasis balcony garden which follows the style of décor and furnishings of their ground-floor apartment.

Carol, who uses a wheelchair, is excited about the filming and seeing the transformation of her balcony. She’s played a key role in the design of her balcony which includes planters and trellises with roses, fennel, lavender, ivy and various alpines.

“It’s been a real focus for me this last few weeks and I’m looking forward to being on camera and determined to play a full part in the planting. I’m very happy with all the ideas and plants chosen except I did draw the line at geraniums!”

The apartments at Fillingham Court were developed and are managed by WM Housing as part of the regeneration of the estate.

As well as the transformation of the three balconies, residents and the Gro-Organic team are also improving the communal gardens and working on other balconies.