Here you will find information about the horticultural skills unit at Hepscott Park.
About our service
The horticultural skills unit has been offering a service to people since it opened in January 1985. Since that time, many plants have been grown and sold to the public and many people with learning disabilities have benefited from the service.
In 2011, a major investment within the unit saw our older glass houses being replaced with new ones, as well as the refurbishment of our main building. We now have a very pleasant, light, spacious and easily accessible building that can comfortably accommodate 20 to 25 people with level access to all areas.
This year, the horticultural skills unit is celebrating its 30th
anniversary with a series of events. Everyone loves the building, but it is how everyone gets along together that makes the unit such a great community to be a part of.
We offer people who have disabilities a safe and relaxing environment where they can make friends, enjoy themselves and be themselves without discrimination. We aim to maximise each individual’s potential and enhance their quality of life.
In 2014, the unit took over the Hepscott park garden café that opened in 2012. The café, along with our new glasshouses, home-grown plants and occasional activities for adults and children, has made the horticultural skills unit a popular place for members of the public to visit.
What we offer
Each day begins with a morning meeting featuring all service users and staff. This gives a chance for people to find out what has been happening within the unit and to get involved in planning the work to be done that day.
People choose their own work and there is likely to be a wide range of horticultural and related work available. The main focus of the unit is growing plants for sale to the public. Most sales take place onsite, although we also sell at other locations.
The unit also makes its own compost from leaf mould, which avoids the use of peat.
Vegetables are grown on an allotment scale and there are several landscaped areas that are planted and maintained, including a small amount of grass cutting. The available work will change depending on the time of year, the weather, the rate of plant sales and the needs/interests of those working that day.
- 16 day care places per day
- newly refurbished main building with excellent facilities
- three large heated cedar glass houses
- three polytunnels and cold frames
- allotment area
- landscaped areas, including:
- the quiet garden
- the Chelsea garden
- the scented garden
- wildlife pond
- signposted garden walk for public access
- woodland area with wormery, composting and willow fencing
- sheds for storage and workshops
- horticultural tools and machinery
- people carrier and crew cab van for garden visits / contract grass cutting
- large low loader trailer for carrying grass cutting machinery
- large collection of plants for sale to the public – all grown from seed and cuttings
- peaceful environment
- adjacency to the Hepscott park garden café
Horticultural work and activities
- seed sowing
- taking cuttings
- pricking out seedlings
- washing pots
- writing labels
Greenhouses and polytunnels:
- moving plants
- watering plants
- checking and maintaining plants
Shop and sales:
- serving customers
- money handling / using cash register
- re-stocking sales area
- piling dead leaves into compounds in the woods
- building and maintaining compost heaps
- sieving and riddling leaf mould
- sterilising leaf mould
- mixing leaf mould with sand and nutrients
- barrowing potting compost to potting shed
- soil preparation: digging, raking, preparing a seed bed
- seed sowing outdoors, planting
- hoeing, weeding
- harvesting vegetables
Looking after gardens:
- grass cutting using a mower and strimmer
- planting flowers
- weeding flower beds
Out and about:
- visits to local gardens
- visits to garden centres
- annual holiday to visit gardens in other areas
- sales at markets and other venues
- annual cricket match
The horticultural skills unit is unlike an average garden centre.
It is a small, but busy nursery growing a wide range of plants from seed and cuttings, selling them on to members of the public.
We specialise in unusual, hardy perennials.
At the unit, customers have a chance to talk to the people who have grown the plants and to find unusual plants that they wouldn’t find elsewhere.
Customers can also walk around our garden trail, or even call into the garden café for a cup of tea or bite to eat.
We occasionally offer horticultural workshops and horticultural skills unit activities.
Horticultural skills unit events 2015
2015 is the horticultural skills unit’s 30th
anniversary year and many of our events will have an anniversary theme.
- On Saturday 31 October, join us for our children’s pumpkin carving event. Design a scary pumpkin to be carved and take it away for Halloween. Cost £4. Please note, autumn perennials still for sale.
Dates and details to be confirmed.
- Our wreath-making workshop is Saturday 5 December. Find out how to make an attractive Christmas wreath using natural materials and take it home to add to your Christmas decorations. Cost £10.
- Join us for a festive treat on Wednesday 9 December - our Christmas fair. Our heated greenhouse will be decked out with ‘made in Northumberland’ Christmas specialties from our day services and local producers.
Hepscott Park, Morpeth, NE61 6NF (Location Map)
Service opening times
- Monday to Thursday (9am to 4.30pm)
- Friday (9am to 4pm)
Plant sales opening times:
- Monday to Saturday (10am to 4pm)