WELCOME TO THE EAST HARLING COMMUNITY GARDEN
The idea of a community garden was suggested by the Parish Council Clerk in July 2020, after the Council had to clear a small unused piece of land, she saw an opportunity to something amazing to be created.
During lockdown there has been a real interest in gardening across the country and our waiting list for allotments shot up, which is where the idea of an area that anyone can visit and help plant, weed, relax, socialise and watch the visiting wildlife.
We were also aware that many residents don’t have access to a garden, and with mental health being such a concern during this time, this garden would hopefully help those that are finding life difficult by giving them a reason to leave the house, have a purpose, and socialise, to help get them through these difficult times.
The land was cleared by local volunteers early in the summer of 2020. Dead trees were removed, dozens of bags of rubbish and overgrown shrubs were removed, revealing the beautiful historic flint and brick wall.
We felt this was a great opportunity to revive this unused and un loved green space.
Although small, we could see that it could be, if nothing else, a real haven for wildlife, with locally made bird, bat and hedgehog boxes and a selection of bug hotels now in place in the garden and the parkland beyond, to encourage a safe habitat for as many species as we can.
A Facebook page was set up ‘East Harling Community Garden Project’ by two residents who manage the project, and it quickly gained lots of interest and plenty of volunteers! The first day of digging was arranged for October 2020 and a small team of 6 dug the area over and a plan began to form.
We were inundated with donations of plants, seeds, bark chips, timber sleepers etc from local residents and businesses, the support has been amazing.
During the summer the school bring along some children as part of their learning, they can be involved in all aspects of caring for plants and learning about the wildlife too, they usually bring along sunflowers that they have grown from seed and love planting and watering them in.
The garden is excellently situated being situated just off the footpath that links the play park, sheltered housing and the village amenities, has a lot of interest from passers-by. It is a place to stop, take a moment and take in all the wonderful sites and sounds of this amazing creation of soft planting, small trees, sensory areas, wildlife habitats and so much more
A beautiful seed swap cabinet was made and installed for residents to browse through when they pass, and perhaps try growing something new that they hadn’t before.
With raised beds, and a wide path, the area will be accessible to those with mobility issues who would like to help.
We have an information board telling the history of the garden and about some of the planting we have in the garden.
The garden was officially opened in September 2021 by the Mayor of Thetford and was dedicated to the Parish Councils long standing Clerk who passed away in 2017. He loved his garden and allotment and would have been fully involved in this project.
The garden continues to thrive, grow, expand and excite the imagination , and the small group, led by Liz Mould and Rachel Robb, and spurred on by winning a CPRE highly commended award in 2021, carry on their hard work.
In June 2023 the garden was nominated for a Norfolk Biodiversity award.
The project is funded purely on donations and small grants that it has been able to secure, and plans to continue to self fund this way
Thank you to Breckland Council for their support to this project.
October 2023 the garden continues to grow and flourish. A new pergoda has been built along with a stumpery and an extra bug house, a very luxurious one at that ! The small team of volunteers carry on the great work of encouraging wildlife into the area, building up a nature corridor around the The Poplars park area to help with its bio diversity.