Well, it wasn’t the mini fish’n’chips from Billingsgate or the mini Brick Lane curry or [...]
All it Takes is Two or Three PeopleCreated by Jane in Jane Lawson's Blog
Until thirty years ago Greenwich Council grew its own bedding plants on a little site tucked away behind one of the many parks in the borough. Then they abandoned it as it was cheaper to buy plants centrally and the plot became populated by trees, shrubs, used needles and other unspeakable items connected with sex, drugs, rock’n'roll and vagrancy.
This unhappy state of affairs continued until two people who have always been active in our local community decided to do something about it. Tim and his wife Edna (known as Purple Edna as she always wears that colour as a tribute to the poem) are respectively a retired solicitor and a retired paediatric sister. Both of them are used to getting things done.
So, they gathered together a group of like minded people from the local community, lobbied for, and obtained, a substantial grant from Groundwork and other sources, and work began. The first task was to hire plant to remove thirty years of debris and then import top soil. After the debris was cleared it became clear that the plot was terraced and that the soil quality was good as it had previously been used as a nursery. The Council removed tons of Japanese knotweed which has plagued the park and gave the go ahead.
Then the area was transformed. Sixteen individual plots were sectioned off and priority given to flat dwellers who had no access to gardens of their own. A children’s plot was laid out, raised beds constructed for the less mobile and those with health needs and a recent arrival from Latvia made a wonderful wooden peacock art installation which doubles as a windbreak and the Community Garden was launched on Big Dig Day 2012.
Since then the community garden has gone from strength to strength. A small orchard has been planted and apples harvested last autumn, cold frames are in place, old and young, long term residents and newcomers work side by side, those with health needs get the opportunity to mix and enjoy fresh air, and wonderful organic fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers have transformed the site. There are bird and bat boxes and bug hotels and links are being forged with other community groups.
There is a part of the site which will now be used as a Forest School by local Primary Schools giving young children the experience of working with nature and being resourceful.
Last Saturday was their Open Day. Lots of visitors arrived undeterred by the hailstones and were deeply impressed by what has been done. A goodly number wish to be further involved and the Community Garden is clearly going to be a wonderful local resource bringing pleasure and good food to many local residents.
If you would like to see some pictures of the garden look here.