Secret out about the Headland’s newest community garden

Opening of St Mary's community garden. From left Sue Ainslie, Jane Johnson and Marjorie Alldred
Opening of St Mary's community garden. From left Sue Ainslie, Jane Johnson and Marjorie Alldred

The secret is out about a new community garden growing produce and bringing people together on the Headland.

A small courtyard behind St Mary’s Church presbytery has been brought back to life by local residents and parishioners.

Jane Johnson  with fresh produce at the new St Mary's community garden.

Jane Johnson with fresh produce at the new St Mary's community garden.

The Secret Garden project grew out of a six week gardening course run between St Mary’s and Catherine Howell of the Workers Education Association (WEA).

A huge amount of brambles, weeds and other undergrowth were cleared before the learners constructed a raised bed and planted seeds.

And although the course has ended, the participants, and wider community, have continued to develop the garden to make it into a space everyone can enjoy.

One of the volunteers Marjorie Alldred said: “I came to take part in the gardening course. From that it just fires you up to want to do other stuff in the community and get involved.”

Marjorie Alldred picks fresh parsley at the new  St Mary's community garden.

Marjorie Alldred picks fresh parsley at the new St Mary's community garden.

On Wednesday, the gardening group members held an open day where visitors got to see the progress and sample some tasty treats from their home grown produce.

Jane Johnson, who is part of the project, said: “We are trying to turn the site into a community hub for everybody to enjoy.

“We saw the need to try to reduce social isolation and try to produce home grown food and help people to eat together.

“The Heugh Yarners have created wonderful material on the walls. Everything you see has bene donated, we haven’t spent a penny.

“We have recycled pallets to make vegetable planters and have been given paving stones.

“It has been great for getting to know people. It has really helped lots of people in lots of ways.”

The garden is part of the house in Middlegate where Elizabeth ‘Essie’ Cornforth, housekeeper to the priest of St Mary’s, lived.

St Mary’s hope to be able to use the building further in the coming months after standing empty for some time.

They said they are still receiving generous donations for the garden which has been a genuine community effort.

Anyone who wants to find out more or get involved is welcome to contact the church.