Scotch Quarry Park – yesterday and today
The first part of the community garden was created in 2011 as part of the Transition City Lancaster ‘Fruity Corners’ project, led by Simon Gershon and Caroline Jackson. It was funded by the Big Lottery and began with the construction of a series of raised beds which were built onto bare concrete (see photo left). Over the years, new areas have been added to the garden with a series of community events running alongside this, thanks to further funding from Groundwork and, more recently Lancaster Greenspaces. Following this expansion, we set up as an independent voluntary organisation and now run under the banner of ‘Scotch Quarry Community Garden’.
There are five areas to the garden today:
The Forest Garden
This is the oldest part of the garden, comprising the raised beds which we built in 2011. Everything here is designed to be edible so you’ll find familiar fruit, vegetables and herbs as well as some more unusual tasty treats. All the plants in the forest garden are also perennial so they come back every year. This part of the garden was also designed using permaculture principles – it is a low maintenance, closed loop system which involves growing plants in layers in order to make maximum use of the available space.
The half moon bed
This is home to some fruit trees as well as bulbs, shrubs and beautiful flowering plants for wildlife and people to enjoy. All the plants in this bed were created completely free of charge – some of them we grew ourselves from seeds, cuttings and division – others were donated by local residents or organisations, including the garden at Christ Church, just around the corner. A path winds through the middle of the bed for easy access and additional fun for children and careful dogs!
The nursery bed
This sheltered spot provides a safe home for the babies of the garden: young plants that we have grown ourselves from seed or cuttings. They can grow on here in peace and quiet until they are big enough to move to their final positions in the garden.
The cottage garden
These three new beds were started in 2012. Here, we’re aiming to create an attractive space for annual veggies and wildlife-friendly flowers.
The hazel coppice
While this is not, strictly speaking, a part of the garden, it is an important part of our longer-term vision to take care of the park more broadly. It is an area adjacent to the existing woodland where we planted 50 new hazel trees in 2016 with the help of the Lancashire Woodland Project. In the future, this will create a traditional coppice habitat that will help wildlife and provide us with the timber that we need for plant supports in the garden.
The ‘new’ beds
We probably need to come up with a better name for these! They were built in the summer of 2016 with funding from Lancaster Greenspaces and the idea is to provide three dedicated new spaces: one for salads, one for Mediterranean herbs and one for wildlife and seasonal colour. The herb and salad beds were specifically requested by local residents in order to cater for the kinds of edible things that are best picked regularly and eaten fresh, but which are expensive to buy in the supermarket!
Do you have other ideas for areas that you’d like to see added to the garden? Please get in touch and let us know!