The Friends of Rowntree Park are responsible for the maintenance of certain parts of the park’s gardens. York Council are responsible for the rest. We fund the planting in the areas we care for and look after them. We don’t have the capacity and funding at present to take on further areas of the park.

The Friends look after:

–  The Long Borders
–  The Friends Garden 
– The  Sensory Garden
– The Rose Memorial Garden/Pergola
–  Pollinator Project
– The Wildlife Area

We also look after the Forest School area (story circle). In addition, we have started to propagate our own plans in the Lodge Garden behind the cafe.

When there is the capacity and funding – our gardening also extended the rockery outside the clubhouse, and some planting around the lychgate. With all our planting, we consider what plants survive floods, as at times the park can spend weeks under water!

We welcome the donation of plants for the park – if you have something you’d like to share – get in touch!

Long borders

This is the long stretch through the centre of the park. Our aim here is to have a range of perennial plants that will grow year after year. The Long borders bring colour to the park. We aim to introduce more lupins to the long borders. Lupins are very much part of parks history. George Russell who pioneered types of lupins was originally from the Southbank area of York. His flowers became famous worldwide and the park used to have a range of Russell Lupins.

The Friends Garden

This garden is aimed at those who want to picnic and play in a safe railed space that is goose free. The raised beds are filled with annuals to bring colour to the area.  The planting is being redesigned for the purpose we find the garden is used. We know children play here and like to hide amongst the bushes, so we are making sure the area is filled with ornamental grasses and shrubs rather than pollinators or spikey plants. We have bird feeders in here too, which volunteers maintain.

Rosemary’s Sensory Garden

This railed garden we call a Sensory Garden – an area to stimulate the senses! A range of plants that bring colour, fragrances, textures, and some that taste! This area is intended to be a great place to relax ad watch the world go by. This area is developed and cared for by a long standing group of volunteers who used to to be led by Rosemary Bentley. Sadly Rosemary passed away at Christmas 2021. The group continue to care for this area and garden on a Tuesday morning.

The Pollinator Project

This is a fairly new project that only started in late Summer 2020 and will take a few years to establish fully. The Pollinator area is based at the Terry Avenue Gates -the area near the Skatepark and Basketball courts. Our volunteer gardeners have been creating an area to help with biodiversity. Native plants that will provide food and shelter for bees, butterflies, and other beasties! Different plants will take prominence in various seasons various seasons. This project was funded by ‘Betty’s Trees for Life’. This is an ongoing project.

The Lodge Garden

In 2020 we started the process of setting up our own Propagating Garden.  We need to make the gardening the FRP do in the park more sustainable. There isn’t much funding available for new plants, so we intend to grow our own. If we have a surplus, we can sell to raise funds too.  The Lodge Garden is the space behind the cafe. It is enclosed from the general public. We welcome volunteers interested in propagating for the park.

The Rose Memorial Garden/pergola

This area is a place for quiet contemplation and to remember those we have loved and lost. There are some plants/trees dedicated to people here. Also some plaques. Our volunteers maintain the rose garden and the climbing roses on the pergola. The Friends of Rowntree Park cannot organise dedications of trees, plants or benches as this has to be done via the council. You can find out more about what the council offer here

The Wildlife Area

This project started in 2021 but will take a few years to develop. The wildlife area at the back of the Butcher Terrace Field, there is a fence that separates it from the football field. In this area we already had a pond and an orchard, but we are developing the area to include a bog garden, an improved pond, more focus on the fruit trees, a rockery to encourage mammals, wildflowers and meadow grasses, grow working wood that we can use, paths and benches. This project has been funded by Yorkshire Water.

The Tansy Beetle Habitat is a project that runs alongside the wildlife area project. We are developing the areas that may encourage tansy beetles to the park. We will also have a new pond with a pond dipping platform in the area near Lovell Street/Play Park. We are working with the council; Eco Team on developing this area that has been boggy for a number of years.

Volunteer Gardening

Our volunteer gardening lead is Stu Small. For anyone interested in gardening you should complete the volunteer registration form here.

Stu runs gardening sessions in the park on Monday, Thursday and Friday mornings. We also have some weekend volunteer gardening sessions in the Wildlife area.

If you are interested in volunteer gardening (no skill or knowledge needed), Stu will then be in touch to let you know about gardening sessions. We have a few gardening sessions in the mornings spread across the week. Once you have basic training, you are welcome to attend organised sessions when you are available, or garden in your own time. We also have ‘one off’ or occasional sessions that you can opt into as and when (they may include weekends and evenings).