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Ipstones community garden is coming back to life

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Ali Vaughan, who lives in Old School Close in Ipstones, is becoming something of a gardening expert, thanks to her efforts to bring the village’s community garden back to life.

The community garden, which was once the original school playground, was created in 1999 when the old school was renovated. But, over the years, it’s started to look a bit sad and unloved. That was until Ali got on the case:

“I started cutting the shrubs back and found wild strawberries and raspberries growing unnoticed. I also realised that there were no flying insects coming into the garden, so I planted some seeds that would attract them back and my interest just grew.

“I’m so glad to live in such a lovely place, I wanted to be able to give back to the community and create a place for mental wellness, where people can enjoy gardening or sit in nature and a read book. So, I got in touch with Councillor Linda Malyon and Peak District Rural to see what we could do.”

And Alison’s enthusiasm paid off. In January this year, PDRHA commissioned Sharpes to refurbish the garden. They cut back the shrubs, weeded the beds, removed a tree (as the roots were above ground), repaired the path, laid stone chippings, provided two large wooden planters and restored the existing wooden benches. We asked Alison what she thinks of the revamp:

“It’s like magic has happened. It brings such a big smile to my face, and I love to see other people caring about the garden. I hope more people will get involved too.”

Now Alison, together with Rosie, another Ipstones resident, is keen to get the community involved in the garden growing food and planting flowers to attract wildlife, and to enjoy! Their plans include growing organic courgettes, kale, tomatoes, beans, beetroot, plus much more. And there’s a plan to plant more dandelions as, not only do they attract bees, but some parts are edible. Except the stalk - it's not called 'wet the bed' for nothing!

To support Alison and the community’s work to keep the garden looking great, PDRHA will also provide a regular garden maintenance service.

We’ll be having an official opening of the garden soon, hopefully when there’s more colour from all the plants and vegetables growing!