Posted: 2nd November 2016
One of Stoke on Trent’s major employers, Michelin, has commissioned local garden design company, Joyce Bullock Garden Design & Landscaping, to re-design the staff garden at its Campbell Road Headquarters. The contract was awarded in August following a detailed web comparison of local designers by Mike Cole, Finance Director of Michelin and a subsequent site visit by Joyce.
The global Michelin tyre business has a very strong ethos for respecting the natural environment whilst achieving economically sound operations. In Stoke on Trent the’ Sitelife’ committee considers issues that affect working life and conditions for employees and proposed a staff garden to enhance the working environment, encourage staff well-being and to provide a tranquil space for reflection.
Funds were committed by the company to provide a garden office and patio which could be integrated into an overall garden design, with members of the staff gardening club volunteering their time to bring the concept to life. A brief in the form of a comprehensive wishlist was submitted to Joyce who prepared two concepts for the committee’s consideration.
“This job was the perfect design project. It was a blank canvas consisting of a simple green lawn, surrounded by conifers, with nothing of note to draw staff in – apart from the lonely smoking shelter. The car parks and the walkways to the offices were already landscaped and so this space was crying out for attention. As well as creating a welcoming garden my plan had to blend in with the existing scheme and contain a variety of spaces for meetings, events and thinking, whilst creating a sanctuary for wildlife and nature and a place to grow organic fruit and vegetables. “
Included in the wishlist was a water feature, offering privacy for meetings, a sensory garden, a privacy garden, an orchard, seating areas, raised beds for vegetables and even a petanque course.
“I managed to achieve a good 90% of what the staff wanted to see and the chosen scheme, which was actually a combination of the two concepts presented to the committee, has paths and planting intersecting the distinct areas. We are on target for completion of the first phase and we have even currently got the management team digging the paths out. Each staff member has been given a bulb to plant in the borders either side of the paths and two members of the Sitelife committee have been with me to a nursery to select plants for an evergreen area. Sue Oulsnam and Sue Bailey are both keen gardeners and were keen to learn which plants would offer winter and summer fragrances.”
A second phase of the scheme will commence in winter and features a stunning Living Willow Arbour which is being overseen by another local business, Wheatcroft Willow of Foxt. Winter planting of bare root fruit trees in the orchard along with further shrubs and trees to delineate each space will be completed prior to spring planting of herbaceous borders which have been designed to offer a riot over colour every summer. The flexible design that Joyce created will allow for further phases to be added as more resources for the garden become available and, of course, Joyce hopes to continue her work with the company;
“It has been a huge privilege to work with Michelin on this prestigious project. The staff will have a garden that offers space for meetings and entertainment, but they will also be able to indulge their own passions for growing food. It will be a haven for butterflies, bees and birds and who knows what other wildlife will be attracted to the garden. I am very much looking forward to see how it develops in the future.”