The Fifth Trust’s horticulture department offers a wide range of work-based and therapeutic activities. We operate a large garden centre where students can gain knowledge and understanding in a commercial retail environment. Ssudents learn many new skills, including how plants are managed and grown ready for sale, weeding, pruning, watering, merchandising, customer care, health and safety, handling money and delivering. These skills are taught through hands on experience and backed up by optional classroom time, where students can gain an in-house qualification.

Many of our students opt to work in our garden maintenance division. Each day, supervised groups of students undertake commercial horticulture jobs in the local area. The teams take on all types of work, including weeding, hedge cutting, grass mowing, planting, garden clearances and garden design, for both private and commercial customers. We work closely with clients such as Canterbury City Council and Serco, the Whitefriars shopping centre and Kings School, as well as over 60 private customers. Students who operate machinery are fully trained by our staff, assessed and monitored.

The Trust has two horticulture sites: the Elham Valley Vineyard, where the garden centre and vineyard are based, and at the Greenbanks centre two miles away – an 11-acre site where we have a large, purpose-built propagation unit and manage and grow our nursery stock. Here students learn how plants are grown from seeds, cuttings, root division and propagation. On the same site we operate a market garden growing fruit and vegetables to keep our café and houses stocked with fresh, home grown produce throughout the year.

Within the Fifth Trust’s horticulture department we are growing the gardeners of the future and are proud to work with students of all abilities.