One of the major communities projects that Rotary Club Middlesbrough Erimus has supported is the Community Garden at Yatton House in Great Ayton. Since the project began, Dave Whittaker, who has led the project on behalf of Middlesbrough Erimus, has kept a blog, reporting on the progress being made. Below is the full version of Dave’s blog:
In the beginning…
After many meetings, consultations with a local Botanist, discussion with local stakeholders work has finally begun in the new Community Garden in Great Ayton. The long term aim is to create an environmentally friendly fully inclusive space for members of the Yatton House community along with local groups and individuals from within the village. Along with ourselves project is being supported by Great Ayton Parish Council, Hambleton District Council, The Margaret Mawston memorial Environmental Trust, Guisborough & Great Ayton and Stokesley Rotary clubs
The garden is being created on a plot of land opposite the main Yatton House building, adjacent to the village allotments by kind permission of Great Ayton Parish Council. The site, very overgrown has been surveyed for its ecological diversity and this will form the basis of future development.
Following the survey, we have created a design for the garden which will function on an environmentally friendly basis, which is shown in outline form below.
Work on the site began in earnest April 2022 with a site clean up to remove the accumulated rubbish and collect and sort anything that was thought usable in the future. Colleagues from the 3 local Rotary clubs were joined by members of the Brighten up Great Ayton group and a few community volunteers.
Site clearance complete and a full skip, surrounded by healthy growth of nettles ready for collection.
A much awaited happy day as work starts with marking out the paths and location of the gazebo.
The very next day min digger on site and we have a transformation
Thanks to the good weather progress has been rapid and by the middle or August the Gazebo is up, and the paths are bounded.
August – September 2022
As August moves into early September the first phase of the garden nears completion and the outline vision on the initial plans come to life. A smart entrance gate leads to the completed gazebo and raised beds with seating across the front gives the main structural elements of the garden.
With the good weather holding on September 13th a further gathering of Rotarians and volunteers took the opportunity to start digging out the nettles and preparing the ground for some potential late autumn planting. The focus of the next stage is firstly; the creation two “hot borders” running either side of the main path which, over time, will be planted with bright vibrant perennials and secondly to clear the vegetable and fruit garden. Not a small task but the sooner we start – as they say.
Over the following weeks the Community volunteer group from The King’s Academy Sixth Form spent several Wednesday afternoon’s sifting soil and filling and preparing the raised beds ready for planting.
Autumn rains delayed us a little however by the end of November the hot beds alongside the main entrance path are planted with some perennials and spring bulbs.
As spring 2023 arrived, the weather allowed us to restart the work with a focus on the fence, sensory garden and further infrastructure. Having finally resolved the lease arrangement for the site we were confident we would be able to commission the boundary fence and using our developing contracts with Middlesbrough College to make plans for their construction trainees to provide much needed assistance.
One of the first jobs was to lay the path to the water tap, donated sandstone slabs formed the surface. The pictures show some of the construction trainees at work.
With the garden taking shape Rotarians and Sixth Form students from The King’s Academy embarked upon creating the sensory garden. The pictures show the progress, slow at first! But it all came together in the end and once its planted up will look magnificent.
Meanwhile the new security fence is installed and looks really smart. It puts a professional and clean look to the front of the garden
Elsewhere in the garden the fruit bushes are growing strongly and have been mulched with bark chippings.