Johnny Clasper (Stone Mason/Sculptor), Russell Towers (TWS Managing Director); Ann Beeby (Friends of Valley Garden); Liz Chidlow (Friends of Valley Garden) and Robert Wood (TWS Site Manager) at the Japanese Garden in Valley Gardens
Johnny Clasper (Stone Mason/Sculptor), Russell Towers (TWS Managing Director); Ann Beeby (Friends of Valley Garden); Liz Chidlow (Friends of Valley Garden) and Robert Wood (TWS Site Manager) at the Japanese Garden in Valley Gardens

Milestone reached at Japanese garden restoration in Valley Gardens

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The end of the second phase of restoration of the Japanese garden in ’s Valley Gardens has been marked by the removal of the fencing around the site.

Ann Beeby and Liz Chidlow, Volunteer Project Managers from the Friends of Valley Gardens (FOVG), who have worked closely with Borough Council on the project, joined Russell Towers and Robert Wood from main contractors TWS and stonemason Johnny Clasper to mark the exciting milestone.

Graham Hardman, the Vice Chairman of the Japanese Garden Society, created and donated the design of the garden. Work on restoring the Japanese garden began in January 2017, when FOVG began clearing the site, along with tree surgeons TreeSaw.  Then in April the main contractors fenced the site off to begin.

Phase Two has seen the stream drained and desilted, additional footpaths created, new entrance archways erected and three new bridges constructed.  Japanese rock sculptures have been installed by volunteers from the Japanese Society and new seating has been provided.

Phase Three planting will begin immediately, and continue through to spring 2018. This phase will be carried out by FOVG volunteer gardeners, assisted by the Japanese Garden Society.  FOVG are also working very closely with local schools and other members of the community to encourage on going active support for this newly recreated area within Valley Gardens.

Financial support for this phase has been given by The Heritage Lottery. Donations from NYCC Community Fund through Councillors Jim Clark and , Harrogate Flower Club, Waitrose, Asda and the Co-op Community Funds, and Friends of Valley Gardens.

Jonny Clasper, Stone Mason/Sculptor, said:

It was great to be part of the team working on the restoration project, the Valley Gardens has always been a special place to me and it was really nice to give something back, my part was to create the dry slate river bed and the rustic Japanese lantern, I will look forward to any future projects.

Liz Chidlow, who runs the volunteer gardening team, would welcome any new volunteers with open arms. There is plenty to do!

Ann Beeby, Volunteer Project Manager at the Friends of Valley Garden said:

Our grateful thanks and praise are due to both TWS and the Japanese Garden Society for their hard work during phase two, it has been a pleasure working with them.

We are delighted with the results and have already received many positive comments from members of the public who have been closely watching our progress through the fence. We have already started planting, and there is much more to come.

Councillor Zoe Metcalfe is ’s Cabinet Member for the Environment.  She said:

Valley Gardens is one of Harrogate’s floral jewels and the restoration of the Japanese garden will be another gem for visitors to enjoy.

I am pleased that we have been able to work so closely with the Friends of Valley Gardens on a project which will help us to retain the garden’s heritage.

The Friends are dedicated to helping us to maintain and enhance Valley Gardens and their hard work really must be commended. I am looking forward to next summer, when the project will be completed and visitors will have the opportunity to see the Japanese gardens in all their splendour.



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