HMP Highpoint Gardens

HMP Highpoint Gardens Blooming

A little glimpse into our gardens at HMP Highpoint Prison at Stradishall, near Haverhill, Suffolk.  They looked so stunning when we were there last week! The chair was made by one of the guys  and Willow Geoff. Very comfortable. Great work!

Jo sitting in Geoff's willow chair

Prisoners contribute to school fair

Prisoners contribute to school fair

Bury Free Press

Greener Growth, community group organised a garden fair at Howard Primary School with plants grown by prisoners from Highpoint Prison.

The garden fair was organised to raise money to create a shaded area for the early years outdoor space at the school.

Jo Metcalfe, founder of Greener Growth, said: “I was really impressed with the children.”

The fair raised around £180 by selling plants that the prisoners from Highpoint had planted with the resources provided by Greener Growth.

Ms Metcalfe said: “Quite a few people in prison aren’t academic but they’re good with their hands, this kind of work allows them to get into a landscape profession when they leave.”


Advice for a greener garden

Advice for a greener garden

Having a day in the garden is one thing, but growing spaces need regular nurturing. It all depends on what you plant, of course! We work with disadvantaged communities to help them establish green areas where they can conserve nature, grow food and protect wildlife. There’s a lot of groundwork involved in our projects, but they run for much longer than that.

We believe looking after your growing space, abiding by the principles of permaculture, is beneficial for people’s wellness, both body and mind. The therapeutic, productive and conservation elements of permaculture are too good to be ignored. To help further promote this, we’ve compiled some insider tips and tricks to help you maintain your growing space. Turn your surroundings into an organic paradise!

10 garden-boosting tips


  1. Planting parsley, dill, fennel and other nectar-producing plants will attract more wildlife to your space like ladybugs.
  2. You ought to water plants in the morning. This will help avoid fungal diseases often spread by high humidity.
  3. In general plants with thinner leaves need more water and those with thicker leaves need less.
  4. An easy way to boost your growing space is companion planting. Pair up plants that balance-out each other’s nutritional needs, so one replenishes what the other takes from the soil.
  5. Help keep pests and disease at bay by rotating your crops.
  6. Plants with longer growing seasons need more compost in the soil to provide more nutrients and organic matter.
  7. Compost is also needed for new beds, plus double digging and soil amendments to get it off to a great start.
  8. If you have some spare compost, don’t let it go to waste. Cover it with tarpaulin to protect the nutrients within.
  9. Making compost tea is a great way to use leftover compost. Mix 50:50 compost to water and let it rest before pouring onto soil around your healthy plants. For smaller seedlings however mix compost and water 1:4.
  10. Acid-loving plants love mulch with coffee grounds


Find out more by completing our contact form.

Going back to basics with prisoners

Going back to basics with prisoners

We created courses for our beneficiaries as many of them haven’t had the opportunity to cook fresh food, let alone learn how to budget before. An essential part of our work with prisons is to support new food-growing projects, but it’s also important to teach the prisoners how to cook the food they’ve grown. Knowing how to grow, source, prepare and cook food, so it retains as much nutrition as possible, is such a vital tool that many of us take for granted.

Our courses include top tips such as growing and eating seasonal foods, foraging ideas, and where to find fresh food on a tight budget.

Cooking on a Shoe String

During one of these sessions at HMP Hollesley Bay almost everything we cooked was grown in the prison gardens. In addition we bought 3 chickens from the supermarket; one cheap, one medium-priced and one higher-priced free-range chicken.

The idea was to demonstrate that, although the cheapest might seem the best, when they were all cooked the more expensive represented better value as it did not shrink, was tastier and more filling. Ethics aside, free range animals have so much more exercise that a single chicken would provide you with four meals instead of two! We explained that animals stressed by battery conditions are often fed more chemicals such as antibiotics and they contain more fat having had little or no exercise.

As a group we also discussed the basic dry goods that you should aim to have in your store cupboard, like couscous, brown rice, onions, garlic and soy sauce, so if things get tight towards the end of the week you can still make a meal.

The proof is in the pudding (or the chicken)

The cooking! We looked at what we had in our kitchen store cupboard and on this occasion everyone chose what they wanted to make. We made pizzas, with fresh herb bases adding nutrition as well as taste, chicken and fresh vegetable topping. There was also roast chicken with roasted vegetables, chicken soup and vegetable ratatouille. We then sat together and shared the food we’d made.

Just as we finished clearing up one of the younger men gave us one of the two small pizzas he’d made. He loves pizza. This was his way of saying thank you and it made the entire day even more worthwhile.

Each time we run the course (once a fortnight) we get three or four people knocking on the door, asking if they can be put on the list for next time. It seems to be a valuable and popular initiative at the prison!

If this is something you’d like to get involved with, or you have any other ideas, please do get in touch.

Greener Growth Garden Makeovers: The method

Greener Growth Garden Makeovers: The Method

Our garden makeovers are different in that they offer excellent value, enhance biodiversity and are incredibly high yielding as far as produce is concerned, but also low maintenance!

Seeing the potential

Throughout the project we work with and emphasise the excellent principles of permaculture. But firstly we listen to what you want to achieve in your growing space, whatever size it may be. We don’t necessarily call it a garden as not everyone has one, but that shouldn’t stop you developing your growing space. We’ll show you how our Greener Growth Garden Makeovers can help you can grow food and nature almost anywhere.

Once we understand what you’d like us to help you create and achieve, we then map and zone the area. Now this is where the principles of permaculture really come into play. We let nature do the talking and guide us to plan a space that is good for you and your environment. Here are nine things we consider:


Getting down to work

We draw out what we think would work best to help you achieve your goals and maximize the potential of your space. Then it’s your turn. We discuss what you’d like to grow, harvest and eat from your garden, and what wildlife needs your help. Greener Growth doesn’t just turn up, do the job and leave. We prefer to get people as involved with the project as they want to be, teaching them as we ‘work’ together. A garden makeover shouldn’t feel like work though, creating something from ‘nothing’ is so much fun! For families looking to ‘up skill’ getting the children involved is a great idea, helping them take ownership of their space and playing an active role in nature conservation.

When doing a garden makeover we usually create the new infrastructure in the dormant winter months. This isn’t set in stone, but it is easier and less disruptive to pre-existing nature, taking shelter, hibernating or otherwise.

Helping yourself and others

Yes, there is a cost to having a garden makeover, but as a community interest company any profits we make are fed back into our community projects. So while you enjoy a beautiful and productive growing space, you’re also helping disadvantages and less fortunate people in the community. But that doesn’t mean a Greener Growth Garden Makeover is expensive, it’s still less than usual garden makeover designers & landscapers.

Read more about our Greener Growth Garden Makeovers and if you’re interested in our services for your own growing space, simply get in touch here.