" I had the rare delight of spending a couple of hours by myself on Fernbank on a warm sunny Saturday.
The bank has become a shaggy pelt of plants, wild and semi-cultivated, with bees and butterflies hovering and darting, relishing the rich mix of grasses, herbs, fruit and flowers that now flourish here.
Only 4 years ago, a local resident, single-handed, cleared this bank of its coating of brambles spilling out across the pavement and smothering any competition.
Once cleared, the possibilities of a community garden of the kind appearing here and there in Totnes in preceding years, woke the imagination of two visiting French landscape-gardening students, Titouan and Coppelia. Their enthusiasm and the support of some of us locals gave birth to Fernbank garden.
A towering plane tree dominates one end of the bank, casting its broad shade, under which ferns, primroses, King Solomon’s seal, jack-by-the-hedge, and numerous other shade-loving plants mix freely. Further down, the bank sports thyme and oregano, wild strawberries, mints of many kinds, feverfew and daylilies, sage and sumach, and splashes of colourful calendula, marguerites, purple loosestrife. A fig tree tops the bank, along with a few currant and gooseberry bushes.
This is no tidy municipal planting but a tribute to the care, not too much, of a few volunteers who turn up from time to time, to give a touch of human intervention to this diverse patch of semi-wildness, enjoying each other’s company and creating a haven for insects to enjoy, and enhance the foraging possibilities for others.
Come and join us one day, if you like. We are usually there on the third Saturday of most months, in the morning.
Or just linger there a while when you pass by"
Wendy, July 2019