Storey Gardens Fundraiser - HPA

Storey Gardens Fundraiser

The Tasting Garden is a community garden, an orchard, and an outstanding artwork, located in The Storey Gardens in the heart of the city of Lancaster. This year, Friends of the Storey Garden (FOSG) have embarked on an ambitious project to recreate the internationally renowned artwork. Attached to The Storey, and owned by Lancaster City Council, the gardens are open to the public to enjoy and are free of charge.

A unique artwork called The Tasting Garden by the American environmentalist artist, Mark Dion was installed in the gardens in 1998. The artwork encompasses old varieties of fruit trees, paths in the shape of tree branches leading to the different fruit trees, 21 plinths bearing fruit sculptures of these trees and a folly, the Arboriculturist’s work shed. The surrounding borders are full of plants and shrubs to encourage wildlife. The Tasting Garden is the only permanent public artwork by Mark Dion in the UK, and possibly Europe.

Unfortunately, the original bronze fruit sculptures were stolen in 2008, and most of the plinths were badly damaged in the process. Over the years, The Friends of The Storey Gardens have worked hard to care for the fruit trees and other plants and campaigned to keep the gardens open to the public.

Over the last few years, the FOSG in partnership with Lancaster City Council have also embarked on an ambitious project to restore and recreate most of the damaged and neglected elements of The Tasting Garden. The restoration of the folly was mostly completed by the volunteers in 2021 and 2 of the fruit sculptures (this time carved from Portland stone) were replaced in March 2023. The funding for replacing the first two sculptures came jointly from The Friends of The Storey Gardens and The Storey. The stone carving was done by Alan Ward, the resident sculptor at Lancaster Castle. The new plinths are made from sandstone and sourced locally from Cumbria Stone. The recreation of The Tasting Garden is being undertaken in consultation with Mark Dion and will remain faithful to his original intention, whilst ensuring that it remains a beautiful community space to be enjoyed by anyone who wants to spend some time there. It is very much a grass roots initiative, by the community for the community.

The gardens are used 6 days a week by many people who live and work in the city, and it serves as a tourist attraction. The volunteers work hard to promote the gardens as a welcoming and attractive space to be enjoyed by a wide range of people. Events are arranged for Heritage Open Days, art installations are invigilated during Light up Lancaster when thousands of people move through the gardens, various local schools visit the gardens for school projects, and The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery uses the gardens for their environmental sessions.

We believe that investing in the recreation of The Tasting Garden as an integral part of The Storey Gardens is important for the people of Lancaster because it helps to ensure that this space remains valued by the community and can therefor stay open to be enjoyed as a peaceful community space in the heart of Lancaster. It preserves a part of the cultural heritage of the city for many generations to come.

We are delighted to see that The FOSG have reached their target for phase 1 of their project and they are hoping to continue fundraising efforts in order to keep striving to recreate all aspects of the original artwork. The next phase includes the re-instating of the paths, which are currently in a poor condition which makes access difficult for visitors with mobility issues to reach the sculptures.

To make a pledge to The Tasting Garden fund, click here, or alternatively scan the QR code below.

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