Progress at
Pocket Park

For more than a year,
it was a dream — then
barely a plan.

At the end of September,
in less than a week, it
became a reality. But there's plenty of work
still to be done.

Barbara planning, at one of two picnic tables donated by LaValley


Top left: Gordon Barnaby and his crew install the fence on September 27th.

Top right: Beds are ready for hazleburt bushes inside the fence, flowers and shrubs outside it.

Above: Leslie Tilles and family open the park (unofficially!) with an impromptu picnic.

Right: Newton School students will plant many of the trees, but one apple tree is done before their arrival, as an example.

(The large cage dissuades deer and beaver; the fine wire cage is for mice and voles; the organic white paint protects against sun scald and makes it easier to spot insect damage.)

Holes are started, trees and materials are ready for the arrival of Newton School 7th and 8th grade.

And on October 1, Newton School 7th and 8th grades (Farm to School) arrive in force, with Danette Harris and Kate Reimanis.

What could be more fun than digging holes, hauling compost and peastone, and cutting Japanese Knotweed?

But what can be more satisfying than planting a tree and watching it grow?

Six Days from the Start

The photo above was taken on Thursday, October 2, just six days after work began with the erection of the fence!

Nine trees have now been planted — 3 apple trees, 2 pears, and 4 plums — plus two hazleburt shrubs. Blueberry bushes, three more apples and a good many guild plants will go in the ground during the next week or so. Also, invasives around the perimeter of the park will be cut back, creating a little more space, and also more views of the river.

Then the pocket park will rest, but beds for flowers and more shrubs have already been prepared for spring planting. Also in spring, we hope to acquire two benches and plant more trees and flowers.

None of this would be possible without the help of many sponsors. They include

  • E.C. Brown's Nursery
  • Henderson's Nursery
  • Northern Nurseries
  • Longacre Nursery
  • La Valley Building Supplies
  • Chelsea Green Publishers (Michael Phillip's "The Holistic Orchard")
  • Newton School Farm-to-School Program

Special thanks go to the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Apple Corps (for trees and inspiration), and to a generous Strafford resident. Also thanks go to the Town of Strafford Board of Selectman and the Recreation Board for use of the land, and to Representative Jim Masland for his encouragement and advice.

It takes a village to raise a child — and also to develop a pocket park!

Go to next progress report >>

Go to original Edible Pocket Park proposal >>