A student who fell in love with gardening when she started volunteering at a Dewsbury park will have her work in a prestigious flower show.
Waheeda Kothdiwala has helped to design a “garden of the future” as part of a university project, and in July it will go on display at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Tatton Park Flower Show.
Ms Kothdiwala, 35, moved to Dewsbury from Barbados when she was eleven and went on to study art, before living in the USA for several years.
When she came back to Dewsbury, she started volunteering at Crow Nest Park.
“I really wanted to do something different and I got into gardening,” she said.
“There, I met the Friends of Crow Nest Park group and they really helped me out and I had really good time there.”
While volunteering at the park, Ms Kothdiwala, of Hanover Gardens, Dewsbury, saw a magazine article about getting an NVQ qualification and found that there was a tutor in Dewsbury and successful completed the course.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you go back to university?’ and I thought I was too old for that, be he said, ‘Go on!’.
“I took one step and I’ve gone from not knowing anything about weeds to the RHS Tatton Hall Flower Show.”
Ms Kothdiwala is now in her final year of a landscape architecture degree at Leeds Metropolitan University.
She and seven of her coursemates have designed a garden, My Pod, which is meant to offer visitors a place to escape from stress and relax in under its LED lighting in its soft interiors.
The outside of the pod and the path that leads to it is inspired by the rugged landscapes of Yorkshire and is built using sustainable and locally sourced materials.
After the flower show at the end of July, the garden will be permanently installed at St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds, and the designers will be taking donations for the hospice at Tatton Hall.
Due to her university commitments, Ms Kothdiwala has had to give up her allotment at Crow Nest Park, but it still has a special place in her heart.
“It’s just so amazing and peaceful there, and I’ve found the community, whenever they come into the park, everybody has such a beautiful conversation about the flowers and the plants,” she said.
You can find out more about My Pod, Ms Kothdiwala and her university colleagues by going online to www.seven peasinapod.co.uk