Volunteers saw the fruits of their labours rewarded when a farmers’ market stall in Hitchin raised nearly £500 for the Triangle Community Garden last month.

Shoppers were spoilt for choice with an array of plants, which were grown on windowsills and in polytunnels by members of the charity. Chamomile, red-veined sorrel, red amaranthus, basil, from Thai to cinnamon, and mint were among the herbs for sale.

Traditional fruits and vegetables were also on offer such as melon, cucamelon, tomatoes, climbing French beans, sweetcorn and courgettes along with more unusual varieties. They included Japanese turnips, or Kabu Tokyo Cross, as well as Mizuna, or Japanese mustard, which were grown from seeds by many volunteers, including Fiona Dolman, who helped on the stall.

"It has been great to raise so much money for the Triangle Garden," said Fiona, who has a high-pressure management job in the city.

"The charity means a lot to me. When I first started volunteering at Triangle’s Garden Club in 2018, I was feeling a bit lost.

"It really gave me a sense of purpose. It gave me lots of friends with a shared interest and I have learned so many skills from everybody, but particularly from Steve Granger [the charity’s Garden Club session leader]."

The Triangle Garden was set up 22 years ago to help people of all ages and abilities lead more fulfilling lives, through gardening and contact with the natural world.

It does this through various social, therapeutic horticulture and health and wellbeing projects, which include for people with learning disabilities and those facing isolation in the community. Among the activities are growing food and flowers, tending plants, creating wildlife habitats and making permanent garden features.

The Triangle Garden also runs community gardening events open to all, once a month on weekends, and workshops, walks and forest school activities throughout the year, as well as its weekly Garden Club, which welcomes new volunteers to the site in Ransom’s Rec, off Grove Road, Hitchin.

Volunteer Gill Martin said: "We work cooperatively and do things we enjoy as well as have a laugh."

Alongside her was volunteer Kavita Krishna, a maths tutor, who joined the club after arriving from India five years ago. “I was new to the area and didn’t know much about gardening here. I got into it because I met Liz McElroy [Triangle Garden’s project manager] at one of the outreach events. I went down to the Garden Club, and it was great. I’ve learned a lot about gardening and English culture.

“I’ve also met a lovely group of people who really care about each other and the Earth.”

Many of the Triangle Garden’s activities are organised by Liz, who will be leaving the charity after 15 years in June to take a full-time post at Earthworks St Albans.

Paying tribute to her, Vicky Wyer, chair and co-founder of the Triangle Garden, said: "Liz has been a pivotal member of the Triangle Garden team, managing and leading our Growing Ability and Growing Health projects for adults with learning disabilities and more recently setting up New Shoots to help people with regaining their mental wellbeing.

"We wish Liz all the very best and hope she will continue to join us at events and volunteer activities, when she is able."

For information about the Triangle Community Garden go to trianglegarden.org.