Urban oasis opens in Norwich

A community garden which offers a haven of peace and tranquillity in the heart of the city has been opened to the public.

Grapes Hill Community Garden has been a three year labour of love for a group of people who decided to turn a derelict area of tarmac into somewhere members of the public could enjoy.

Work on the actual site started less than a year ago and volunteers have worked tirelessly to transform it into a garden filled with fruit trees, perennials, flowers and herbs.

Now, the group are seeing the fruits of their labour as the garden opened to the public for the first time on Saturday.

To celebrate, they will host an evening of music and food in the garden this Sunday and a grand opening next month.

Ieuan Davies, part of the Grapes Hill Community Garden Group, said: 'It's wonderful. I'm quite surprised how successful it's been. We've had some very enthusiastic people.

'It's about having green space in the city and about local people possessing these spaces. We want to draw as many people into the garden as possible.'

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The garden, which is owned by Norwich City Council but leased by the group, can be found just off Grapes Hill, tucked between Dereham Road, Valentine Street and Golding Place.

On entering the garden, there is a pergola with vines and wisteria trained up it.

A path leads past four deep beds, where fruit and vegetables have already been planted including tomatoes and cucumber, and through a miniature orchard with apple trees and a wildflower meadow.

There is also an area of paving with seats and ornamental borders fringed with lavender. At the end of the lawn, there is a log feature for seating or for children to play.

Landscaping and planting of the garden has been funded by a Big Lottery Community Spaces/Groundwork grant and the Greater Norwich Development Partnership.

The garden is open every day but locked at night,

It will continue to be looked after by the Grapes Hill Community Garden Group and there will be gardening tasks every fortnight during the summer on Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm. All are welcome regardless of gardening experience.

The group also currently looks after the deep beds but from next year will lease them out to members of the public and groups to grow their own vegetables.

This Sunday, July 10, the group will have a stall at St Benedict's Street Fair and there will be music and food in the garden afterwards from 6pm to 9pm.

The grand opening will be held on Sunday, August 7 from 11am to 3pm where there will be music, a barbecue, ice cream and drinks in the garden.

For more information about the garden, go to www.grapeshillcommunitygarden.org

Are you part of a project to improve the area where you live? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk