Sandy Lane is our “home” garden. This is where it all began for the Sandy Lane gardening Group. In the summer of 2009, at a service user meeting, the residents of Sandy Lane project decided that they wanted to do something more constructive with their garden.
Knowing that Gerry had done something similar before they asked him if he would help. We decided that we would convert one quarter of the back garden into an allotment type vegetable and fruit garden. That was when we came across our first problem. When we took the grass and a “jungle” of mint away we found that there was no soil underneath, only cinders and rubble so Gerry came up with the idea of having raised beds. This would have two advantages, firstly we would have some soil to grow in and secondly we could make them high enough to make the gardening activities accessible to all.
We were very fortunate to get grants from our landlords, Eaves Brook Housing Association and our support team, Creative Support. Even so we realised that if we bought ready made raised beds we would only be able to afford 3 or 4 and they would only be about 12 inches high. Instead we decided to build our own and bought the timber, cut to length from our local timber merchants which was much cheaper than buying from the DIY superstores. Details of how we made the beds can be found on this site.
Having made and installed the beds we created paths by laying down weed prevention fabric and covered this with slate chippings which meant we could access the beds whatever the weather. We filled the bottom of the beds with stones that we had accumulated when we cleared the garden to help with the drainage. we then filled the beds with a mixture of leaf mould, horse manure and top soil.
having completed the fruit and vegetable area we then looked at how we could make the garden more of a feature which would be used by all service users and we decided that a summerhouse in the garden would serve that purpose. So with help from the Green Partnership Awards and The Lottery Fund we were able to erect a 14′ x 14′ foot fully insulated summerhouse.
The summerhouse has now become a focus for the gardening group acyivities and is used for service user meetings, art classes, watching events together such as the World Cup and the Olympics as well as a home for Blackie, our adopted kitten.