The Library garden is managed to be wildlife-friendly, child-friendly, organic and productive as well as ornamental and low maintenance.

The garden is tended jointly by the County Council and a small group of FRRL garden volunteers who meet regularly guided by a  maintenance schedule drawn up by Garden Trustee: Rock Road library garden

If you are interested in gardening and would like to help, you will be most welcome.  Just e-mail FRRL to express an interest!

FRRL are keen to share the apple crop with all Library users who may help themselves to the windfalls from the basket.  However, to ensure that the apples are not picked before they are ready, and to reserve some for Apple Day, only Library staff and FRRL Trustees should pick them from the tree.

Feline friend enjoying the sunshine, October 2014.

Garden_Cat_2_Oct_14 Garden_Cat_Oct_14


The library gardens have been transformed since the FRRL group was established in 2009.

Original Ideas, June 2009

 The FRRL’s primary mission was to create a community garden, to be enjoyed by the local community and Library users, to the rear of the building.  The area had long been neglected and had become an overgrown and unfriendly grass space, lacking security and any character.

Following some creative group-brainstorming (note the proposal for a goat was not adopted), the community turned out in force to prepare the garden and to plant the hedges.  The local Beavers group helped by also doing some weeding and by planting a bed of sunflowers, cornflowers and Californian Poppies which brightened the garden during the summer months.

Green Man Landscapes in Whittlesford kindly donated 124 native hedge plants, a mixture of hawthorn, holly and wild rose.  The plants were chosen to create a haven for wildlife as well as improve security.  Happily, the privacy of the garden has been respected and the back gate has been reinstated for use on specific occasions.

Library Back Garden 2013, before installation of rear doors

The Friends decided to further enhance the space by planting a heritage orchard.

The funds to purchase twelve trees were raised by subscriptions from members of the Friends group.

Most of the apple trees were chosen as varieties local to the Cambridge area, some dating from the late 1800’s – Tree labels 2021.

The trees were planted during National Tree Week 2009, as part of the BBC attempt to break the record for planting the most trees across the country in one hour.  The trees first fruited in 2011 (2013 photos) and a small basket of eating apples was placed in the library for people to help themselves.  One apple tree was removed when the rear door and steps were installed and an original plum tree, which had succumbed to disease, was taken out in 2021 prompting a review of the garden. FRRL Garden Report 2021

planting apple trees 2

Since these early days, the garden has been the focus of many community events as well as weekly volunteer gardening sessions.

In 2011, there was a children’s sunflower-growing competition; seeds were planted at a special event in March and judging took place in September.  Children were encouraged to check the progress of the plants over the spring and summer.  The prize for the tallest sunflower was a signed book by children’s author Martin Jenkins, who presented the prize in person.

winning sunflower

In October 2012, we held the first of our extremely popular, annual ‘Apple Days’ with games and competitions, apple-tasting, apple-pressing and crafts.

apple bobbing apple and spoon race rock road library photo 4

In May 2013 – two benches for relaxing, reading and socialising were installed followed, in Summer 2014, by garden doors giving easy access to the garden from the relocated children’s room.  Every year since has seen additions and improvements, particularly to the front garden which is greatly admired by passers-by for it’s colourful displays.

Mary Lachlan-Cope’s Design, 2010 


  1. […] Informal Garden Group […]

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