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Community Gardening

June 5, 2015

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In 2005 this derelict space in Peckham S.E.London was transformed into an appealing community garden by a group of neighbours wanting to provide a focus for shared activities and to enhance a pedestrianized street. To kick-start the project Southwark Council contributed a grant of £500 which prompted residents to get together to lift flagstones, build raised beds and to begin the planting.  They bought mature shrubs and bamboos for good structure but mostly divided plants from their own gardens with low-maintenance and self-seeding possibilities being the criteria.  Over the next year or two an additional grant of £1000 allowed the residents to improve the soil, repair some of the raised beds and to install a couple of water-butts. A resident told me the garden only gets watered mid-summer if there’s a prolonged period of hot weather and there’s a twice yearly weeding session involving neighbours.

DSCN4646It’s leafy and colourful and thriving and great that an otherwise under-used patch of ground can be transformed into a calm oasis for a community to share and enjoy. So far it’s been used for summer barbeques, opera and other musical events, Easter egg hunt and Christmas carols. Every household can apply for a key and are then able to use the space as and when they desire. Here’s the bamboo grove that the children love to play in…

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More planters line the road …

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And the base of several trees have been planted up too…

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And these magnificent trees in the same street bring the changing seasons to the heart of this residential area in the suburbs of London …

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Back at home the allotment is full to bursting but there’s not much to pick for a week or two except this bowl of vibrant rainbow chard …DSCN4687

In the garden R. Guinee is finally climbing up the lilac albeit rather slowly but worth the wait ( 4 years) for its colour and perfume and it will repeat flower. All my roses were given a good feed in March and they are blooming like never before and I’m about to feed the repeating ones again to get more flowers.

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After five days away the garden appeared ravaged by several days of gale force winds so I picked every thing in flower that was horizontal and plonked it in a vase…

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