Earlier this month, Friends of Eaton Park, together with Clare School, and with funding from RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) built and planted up two raised beds for  the garden at Eaton Park Café. The beds are planted with herbs, salad leaves and flowers, such as nasturtiums and marigolds. Later this year salads and soups from the café will be garnished or flavoured with Eaton Park herbs.  Already bees and hoverflies are enjoying the flowers.

Alison Findlay, RHS Community Outreach Advisor, made a plan for the beds. In May she led a session at Clare School, where pupils worked alongside volunteers from the Friends to sow seeds for some of the plants. Over the coming weeks pupils and staff at the school tended to the growing plants in the school greenhouse.

In early June the beds were built and filled with 3.5  tonnes of soil. Norwich Norse Environmental helped out by transporting two flat bed trucks of soil. RHS and Clare School staff worked alongside volunteers from the Friends to construct the beds. It took many wheelbarrow loads!

A week later we reconvened to plant up the beds with the young Clare School plants and some others too. It was a lot of plants!

In the beating sun, pupils from Clare School worked alongside Alison and volunteers from the Friends.

A customer at the Café later got in touch to let us know the pleasure it gave them to see the teamwork. They liked the way the Clare School pupils and members of the Friends were working and having fun together to  do something really important for the community.

Helen Mitchell, Chair of the Friends, and Hayley Strivens from Clare School, put together the application to RHS. We received a grant of £500, but so much more too, in terms of the expertise, time and support of the RHS.

Now that the beds are finished, work continues as each morning, Café staff water the young, growing plants. Later in the year we’ll be meeting to talk about a long term plan for the beds. The Friends, Clare School and the Café were already working together and this project has really strengthened our partnerships as well as making two lovely new mini-herb beds for all to enjoy.

If you would like to get involved in or support the work of the Friends click here for information or email us.

The finished beds, 26 June 2018.