Ready, steady, dig…Staff at a South Oxfordshire business park get their gardening gloves on

Green-fingered staff at a South Oxfordshire Business Park are being given the chance to put on gardening gloves and tend their very own allotment.

Howbery Business Park has created a dozen beds in its Cottage Garden which it has made available to staff to get together to tend for a year at a time. The mini allotments, which have been made using the park’s own compost, have been offered to the park’s tenants on a first-come first-served basis, with an annual changeover to allow as many businesses on the park as possible to take part.

With the value of gardening being increasingly recognised as a way to improve physical health and mental wellbeing, the allotments are another amenity the park is providing in its aim to provide a healthy work-life balance for tenants. Aside from the obvious benefit of the exercise from all that digging and weeding, spending time gardening has been shown to reduce stress and so boost mental health too.

Donna Bowles, Estates Manager at the business park in Crowmarsh Gifford, says she is delighted with the enthusiastic response from the park’s tenants.

“We are looking forward to seeing staff getting together to grow some great plants or vegetables, with some competitions planned for the tallest sunflower or biggest pumpkin!”

Howbery Business Park benefits from a landscaped parkland where in recent years, it has developed diverse habitats including wildflower meadows, and only last year established two new bee colonies.

Robin Sergi from Nurture Landscapes who provide the park’s grounds services, and whose team have established the on-site allotments, says: “We are delighted to continue to support Howbery Business Park’s investment in its green spaces, maintaining and developing the flora and fauna of the site. The attractive grounds give the park a special feel, and provide a valuable feature that everyone who works or visits the park can enjoy.”