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Nescot’s Foundation Learning department has launched a plant hospital, where students use their horticulture skills and knowledge to rescue ailing plants.

Anyone can drop off a sick plant, and students doing Supported Internships within horticulture will care for them and try to bring them back to life.

The project is aimed at equipping the students with knowledge and skills in identifying plants and diseases, as well as practical experience in carrying out treatments such as repotting.

“The students are really enjoying the project so far,” said horticulture tutor Margaret Hughes. “It’s important experience for them, and it gives them a great boost when they can save a plant.”

Anyone can drop off any type of plant at Nescot’s reception in the Skills Park, or take it directly to the polytunnel opposite the college’s refectory any day of the week.

So far, casualties that have been donated include potted plants which people bought during lockdown and have run into difficulties with.

Margaret is also creating a mindfulness garden for students and staff, based on the concept of ‘green therapy’, in which spending time in nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

She is seeking donations of windchimes, carpet offcuts, deckchairs, outdoor furniture, pots, tools, hanging baskets or bulbs and seeds, as well as welcoming anyone to get involved in setting it up.

“We want to make a space where anyone in college can come and have a break from their day and rest and recharge in nature,” Margaret said.

“Nescot is a beautiful green campus, and the garden is set in a lovely area, surrounded by plants and singing birds. We want to make a difference to people’s days.”

Students in Foundation Learning have so far this month planted potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, peas, broad beans, and a range of herbs.

They’ve also taken cuttings from plants around the college estate, and found innovative ways of recycling unwanted items within the polytunnels as a way of reducing the college’s footprint.

Nescot’s Foundation Learning department offers a wide range of qualifications aimed at supporting students to achieve their full potential.

Some of the programmes are aimed at students with learning difficulties and disabilities, while others have been developed for young people who left school with few or no qualifications. To find out more click here.