The idea for Manea School of Gardening began to germinate in the long, cold winter of 2009-10. Partners Alan Mitch & Mary Larham started thinking…...
Whilst building a ‘Granny Flat’ for Mary’s mother, there was, of course, a digger on site. Alan decided this was a perfect opportunity to ‘extend’ an existing pond, particularly as the area in question was prone to flooding. The ‘pond’ was duly excavated – and it just cried out for a ‘summerhouse’ and deck from which to enjoy it. But, as ideas grow, so did the plans……
Both Alan & Mary are experienced horticulturalists with a wealth of practical experience between them; in both commercial and retail horticulture as well as education and training.They love to share this knowledge and enthusiasm with others – and so the idea continued to grow…………..
Mary has lived in Manea for 26 years – being the village Post Mistress from 1985-2005 as well as running a successful plant nursery (Thyme House Nursery) from 1985 to 2006. Changed personal circumstances saw this business to be closed, and the taking on of more training and tutoring of land-based skills, including becoming a lecturer for the College of West Anglia.
Alan has worked alongside Mary at the College as well as on private landscaping projects. After 22 years in the army, he retrained in Amenity Horticulture, and has experience and qualifications in greenkeeping as well as the tutoring, training and assessing of agricultural and horticultural students both at college and in the work place.
So we have the knowledge and the enthusiasm – and we have the site – albeit completely derelict and overgrown. So a lot of hard work was called for…………..
…..and so it was that Manea School of Gardening was formed – and opened its doors on the 4th September 2010.
We are located in the small, but expanding Fenland village of Manea, on the site of the old ‘Thyme House Nursery’. Chatteris and March are our nearest market towns – some 10 miles . Peterborough, Cambridge and Huntingdon are all around 30 miles distant from the village.
The site is around 2 acres, and includes a purpose built teaching classroom (‘The Shed’), as well as a newly erected propagation glasshouse, outdoor teaching area (‘the Hut’) and polythene tunnels. A large pond, meadow and woodland have been developed, Along with outdoor production areas, orchards and mini-arboretum all planned for later this years. We offer a range of gardening, horticultural and related courses for amateurs, those looking for a career change and those in industry requiring training and assessment in specific areas. The business seeks to fill a gap in the leisure, education and training network for land-based courses within the local area.
We offer a range of courses, to cover both the theory and the practical elements of horticulture. We aim to provide a fun, yet informative learning atmosphere for small groups of up to 10 participants per course. Courses will include propagation, wild-life gardening, lawn care, fruit growing, pruning……..
Garden plots are available to those on ‘Grow-your-own’ courses, which will hopefully encourage participants to make full use of their own garden space, or help them in the step towards an allotment or even a smallholding.
We are also able to offer local schools the chance to involve pupils in ‘hands-on’ gardening and wildlife awareness, linking with the National Curriculum.
Whist many of our courses are ‘just for fun’….. we are accredited by the Royal Horticultural Society and so are offering their courses and qualifications, which are, of course, internationally recognised. These include practical and theoretical courses at various levels which are excellent for anyone in the horticultural profession, or wishing to become involved in it.
Please click here more detail on our Courses