A transformative garden project takes root.

15th September 2023

In the heart of Frome, a transformative garden project is taking root. A community garden with growing space for young adults is being established on land neglected and forgotten for more than ten years. The waiting list for allotments in Frome is 5 years. Andrew and Elizabeth Alden, pioneers in Frome, were hunting for land to start a garden when it was revealed there was one that hadn’t been used for over a decade, concealed behind the wall at the bottom of St Mary’s Church car

The walled garden space had lain neglected and forgotten, hidden under years of wild growth. The door into the garden needed to be taken off its hinges so everyone could get in. Once they’d gained access the hard work began in earnest. Andrew and Elizabeth, with help from volunteers from all four Anglican churches in the town, worked hard to clear the space which was covered in weeds and brambles and crisscrossed by tree roots.

Fuelled by many cups of tea the different groups came together to clear away the overgrowth revealing a wonderful space on which to begin to plant the garden. Elizabeth said, “It is a community garden with a young adult growing space. It’s called the Giants Garden after Oscar Wilde’s story of the salvation of the giant. His garden described in The Selfish Giant was a space which had been locked up, as this piece of land had been for over ten years. His garden became desolate but when the children were allowed to come in and to play, then the garden came back to life and that’s what we’re hoping to do here.

“For some of the young adults, our garden has been quite a significant place of spiritual conversation and prayer and talking about the Bible. They seem to have a commitment to the space and the vision, and we hope that will be part of what unites them as they start to meet and start to share together their ideas.

They’ve already started growing vegetables on site and have had a healthy crop of potatoes, beans and cabbages. One young woman who uses the space regularly said that for her the space has become, “A safe place of healing and peace for me. Gardening here has given me an increase in confidence to be outside and has blessed me with reconnection with an old friend.”

Andrew summed up what the long term hopes for the Giant’s Garden are, when he said, “A lot of it resonates so much with scripture, much of it is garden based, whether it is at the beginning in Eden or at the end in the garden tomb, and I love the image of Mary thinking she was talking to a gardener when actually it was the Lord. I hope that some of the young adults will come and meetthe Lord in this space. That’s our hope.”


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