press release
Published: 18 May 2018

Blooming marvellous – Surrey students to create commemorative garden

Students from the University of Surrey are entering Guildford in Bloom for the first time this year, with a garden themed around the women’s vote centenary.


Designed by business management student Ben Harbour, with the support of fellow student volunteers and staff from the University’s grounds team, the front garden of the rented student property in Walnut Tree Close is undergoing a complete transformation. 

Ben said: “Houses of multiple occupation, such as student houses, often get a bad reputation for not maintaining the upkeep of external areas. Through this project, we really hope to inspire others to get more involved in gardening and show that students really do care about their homes and the communities they live in.”

The student creation features a green, white and purple colour scheme to reflect the suffragette flag, while the use of tiered railway sleepers and track ballast gravel represent the idea of a movement, as well as the late-Victorian era.

The garden has been designed so that each plant is unique in size, shape and colour but chained together to convey the sense of unity amongst suffragettes, as well as referencing their famous public protests.

The Dorothy Perkins rose, which was a predominant feature of the suffragette campaign, has also been incorporated into the students’ design.

The project has been sponsored by local property maintenance company, The Only Handyman Limited, and supported by staff from University of Surrey Lettings (USL), the University’s own not-for-profit lettings agency. The award-winning service allows private landlords to rent their properties directly to the institution, which sublets them to continuing students.

Liani Mannifield, Manager of USL, said: “As well as putting a lot of thought into a meaningful design, these student volunteers have been grafting very hard to make it a reality, from jet-washing and planting to building garden structures from scratch. We hope that other students will see how rewarding it is to create beautiful gardens that showcase creative flair and community spirit.”

The University of Surrey is key a sponsor of Guildford in Bloom 2018. Nikki Dormon, Public Engagement Manager, said: “We planted our roots in Guildford more than half a century ago and, since then, the University and the town have continued to grow side-by-side.

“As an enthusiastic and active member of our local community, we are passionate about giving back to the town. Sponsoring this wonderful event is one of the many ways that we hope to achieve that.

“We are absolutely delighted that 2018 will see our first ever student entry and we also hope to enter one of our green-space projects in North West Guildford, which have been supported by volunteers from across the University, including our Estates Team.”

Other popular events supported by the University include Innovate Guildford, Guildford Music Festival and Guildford Book Festival.

To learn about more community projects and events in the community follow @UniOfSurreyCPE.

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