Auchterhouse Community

School Lane Garden

The School Lane Garden evolved about 8 years ago, from the interest the primary school children showed in the school flower garden, established many years before. They then wanted to grow vegetables and especially tomatoes. The plot of land beside the rear playground was full of weeds and rubbish. After 2 years of negotiating with the owners, we were allowed to work on the plot, the only condition being that if planning permission was ever granted for the site, the owners would ask us to move out. This seemed a reasonable deal for getting the plot without any other burdens. It must be understood that we are not the owners but are just being allowed to use the ground for the benefit of the community and especially the school.

Initially, the site was cleared and rotavated, allowing us to get in and make a start. Over the years we cleared sections at a time so as not to give us too much work. The addition of the garden shed, courtesy of a previous head teacher, was a very welcome addition and made a huge difference to the efficiency of working in the garden. We noted the way the children used the area and gradually put in paths where they naturally wanted to run from one section to another.

Over the years we added new features. Sowing the grass was a highlight with the children in primary school at that time, learning how to sow a lawn, doing the “grass stomp” as they firmed up the soil. Finding a light weight modern version of the old push mower gave the children endless fun taking turns to mow the grass. The initial reaction of “where’s the engine?” turned to amazement that they were the engine, fuelled by their lunch!

The pond was another feature they wanted. An old bath had been part of the original garden but was full of stones and mud. Many weeks were taken up with clearing it out and trying to dig it out but that failed so we bought a small purpose built one. This has provided many children with great interest, especially when the toads were seen in the water and great excitement when the dwarf water lily flowered.

Over the years, we have had support from the community in donating plants, helping with the work in the garden and doing maintenance work on the shed. There is always plenty to do and a suggestion has been made which will be followed up, to have a notice board erected, detailing the jobs which need doing. I know many folk enjoy walking round or just sitting in the very peaceful garden. The average age of the current volunteers is above 75, so new folk are urgently required to maintain this wonderful community and school asset.

Shiona Baird

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