In the autumn we heard that Alitex were looking for a local charity to whom they could donate their famous Messenger greenhouse worth £80,000, and a competition was launched  to find the perfect partner.

They said they sought an organisation that would reap all the benefits of having its own greenhouse for its community to enjoy, as they were passionate about creating spaces that can help both plants and people to thrive and enjoy the mental health benefits associated with gardening and being in nature.

We felt we ticked so many of the boxes,” said Carmel.  “At Patchworking we are totally committed to providing a safe and caring place for people, and we have the most beautiful walled garden in which to provide it. When we learned we had been shortlisted we were thrilled and the next step was to find a way of showcasing the project.

It was agreed that a video would be the best means of demonstrating what Patchworking Garden is about.  Everyone got involved – and one of our volunteers, Nicolle, produced her own video explaining what the Garden meant to her and how much a glass greenhouse would benefit everyone.

We would treasure and adore it,” she said. 



Nelly Hall from Alitex later said that “Patchworking stood out straight away due to the heartwarming video submission by Nicolle. She took us on a little tour of the garden, but it was her explanation of what it has meant to her, and what it offers to people that put them onto our shortlist of 3 straightaway.” 

Following a final selection process including another short video submission from the final three applicants, the whole Alitex team voted for their favourite video. They crowned The Patchworking Garden Project the worthy winners of the Messenger Greenhouse.

As a committed advocate of reducing, reusing and recycling, Alitex sees this as an opportunity for the greenhouse to enjoy a second life. Made from durable powder-coated aluminium, the structure is designed to stand the test of time. Designed in a timeless Victorian style, inspired by the great Victorian engineer Thomas Messenger, the greenhouse measures 6.6 x 3.3m and is complete with internal traditional benching, high level shelving, reservoir and pump and external cold frames.

In January we learned that we had won the Alitex greenhouse and we were delighted due to our existing set-up not being ideal.

We had long thought how nice it would be to have a glasshouse instead of the polytunnel we currently had,” explained Carmel O’Shea. “The polytunnel, although it served its purpose, has not been ideal. Many volunteers found it claustrophobic, plus it leaked in heavy rain, and mice and other little things always found a way of getting in and eating the seedlings. We will treasure and adore the greenhouse and are delighted to be the winners, the greenhouse will really help the 90 people who visit the garden each week.

A team from Alitex visited the garden and started work on the greenhouse installation early in the Spring.

I am delighted to say that work is under way as a mass team effort from both our side and Patchwork. We have all been struck by how magical the garden is as you step through the gateway into the special haven Carmel and the team have created. On a personal note it was great to meet with Nicole in person, get a tour and get to know her a little more, and make sure she knows how proud she should be that it all comes down to her making the application.

It feels like the beginning of a wonderful relationship between us, and we are all looking forward to seeing it complete and being well used.” Nelly Hall from Alitex.

This beautiful greenhouse was built over a couple of months and we opened our amazing new greenhouse at our Spring Celebration in April.

Thank you again Alitex, we will forever treasure this amazing addition to our garden.