Consultation: Garden features

This page forms part of the public consultation which runs until December 14, 2018. We want your ideas so that we can together create a wonderful garden for the Clay Farm community.

Currently (October 2018) the garden is mostly a 'blank canvas'. Its area is outlined in red below. The garden is split by Hobson Avenue running north-south. It will also be split by a cycleway (to be constructed) running east-west following the line of the gas main (solid purple).

In the area between the dashed purple lines ('the easement') planting is limited according to this guidance document.


Here are some features that we could have in the garden:

  • trees, fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, flowering shrubs & climbers – ideally using native plants and providing specific fodder species
  • variety of growing spaces – raised beds, borders, under glass, tubs/pots, espaliers/fans, hedgerow
  • habitats for wildlife – plants, trees, hedges, bird, bat, bug and hedgehog boxes, hibernaculars, bee hives
  • pond – safe – pond dipping and wildlife habitat
  • boundaries – walls for espalier/fan trained fruits – hedges (can be laid)
  • polytunnel/ indoor growing space
  • seating areas – sun and shade – turf “benches”
  • compost areas – for recycling garden waste on-site
  • bays for leaves/woodchip/soil conditioner – for receiving deliveries of useful (and often free) biomass
  • arches at each entrance – these are already funded through the Public Arts money associated with the development and will be designed by Nils Norman, who created the hides on the Country Park and the bridge across the brook nearby (yet to be installed). Watch this space for drawings and proposals coming soon.

Of the features above, which would be your favourites? What would you add? Where would you put them (refer to the ‘blank canvas’ above), and why?

Please comment below, or email us, or both.

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Here is a link to all the consultation pages.

10 thoughts on “Consultation: Garden features”

  1. No pond (any water) please, otherwise it will become an unsafe area for kids. There are other nearby places with ponds – I don’t see a need for another one.
    Yes for seating areas please, either benches or just space for blankets. May be close to areas where kids could play/learn about gardening and wildlife.

    1. Why not a raised pond eg a pond in a raised bed with no climbable access.
      Children, supervised, love ponds and pond dipping.
      I would not envisage unsupervised children having access to it so providing reasonable precautions are in place why not have a pond with frogs, tadpoles, pondskaters, etc.
      There is very little accessible water for pond dipping etc in the area so a safe one would be a good resource.

  2. I still hesitated about ponds unless access protects against small children straying into the area and falling face down into even shallow water.
    Otherwise including all the above suggested features is important. Seating of some kind in both areas – ie on each side of the road.
    Definitely important to grow and share produce. The garden could work with groups such as existing healthy/low cost cookery courses.

  3. I understand the concern about the dangers of water – maybe we need to look at ways to manage this safely as the opportunity for education on the garden about pond life, bugs and why water is essential to bio-diversity will be lost. And kids just love pond dipping so it is a way to engage them. I think we need to find a creative way to make this work.

    I would like to see quirky features made of natural materials, with some curves and tucked away areas to make the garden an intriguing place to wander around. Grassed over seating is a great idea.

    To bring people into the garden who might not see themselves as gardeners, perhaps an area for quiet contemplation, yoga, tai-chi practice etc could be tucked in a corner.

    Practical areas for composting, recycling, bins etc need to be provided in as aesthetically pleasant a way as possible.

    I mentioned in the “building” section the need for indoor growing space – so a greenhouse on the side of the building or a polytunnel (attractiveness issue?) is a must. Maybe some of this indoor space could be available for people with very small gardens who want to grow their own seedlings and plants for their own patch – maybe rent shelf space to help raise money to maintain the garden?

  4. I would prefer the emphasis to be on things that are attractive to children and young people. In my experience this general means attracting wildlife, growing things they can eat (especially fruit) and having a corner where they can play. What about some hens? Or even other animals?

    1. I think maintenance of animals is one issue, needs dedicated people on a daily basis. Also, immediate neighbours may have views about animals on their doorstep? And would need to look at additional insurance issues. Could maybe consider this further down the line once the garden is a really thriving going concern, but perhaps not at this stage.

  5. There are chickens near the Foster Road guided bus stop so this need is already satisfied.
    Livestock, whilst attractive, have maintenance costs and need nominated carers.
    Perhaps more discussion on this when the area is more established and commitments of people are better known.
    Lots of ideas but are they matched by volunteers and commitment for the medium/long term?
    Slow steady positive progress to keep the community garden viable is, I feel, preferable to attempting too much too quickly.

  6. The summer garden parties demonstrated the need for a large area for socialising. Perhaps the area should be planted with grass, trees and flowers to start with and then later as groups come forward who want to participate an area could be allocated to them for their activities. e.g. particularly the schools. This would require a long term commitment from them to maintain their section. We need a composting area and, as the poly tunnel is temporary, proper greenhouse, either attached to or nearby the building.

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