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The Garden

Our award-winning garden is a private space for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in the area. It is maintained by our volunteers and is not a council-run park. The garden provides an oasis of beautiful green space in a densely populated urban area where more than 80% of people rent a flat (3 times the national average), most without their own garden. As well as a place to be, the garden hosts numerous groups and community events that help reduce isolation, break down barriers and boost social cohesion.

In an area that has changed rapidly over the last four decades and continues to change, the importance of this cannot be overstated.

We work hard to ensure that it is always well looked after and tidy. We have a  community gardener, Stephen, who is supported by our gatekeeper and volunteer, Richard, our long-standing volunteer, Steve and other volunteers who help when they can. If you’d like to join the team, please contact us. We also ask all visitors to look after the garden as if it were their own. Please put any rubbish in the bins and respect the plants and flowers, thank you

The garden is literally teeming with life, with countless individual lives all interacting endlessly. To the naked eye, these might be flowers or leaves, butterflies or honeybees, a spider waiting patiently on its web. Each of these pieces helps make up the whole picture, and like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece is important. For the most part, the really crucial pieces are out of sight unless you look very hard; be it the worms in the soil or compost heap or the woodlice moving through a pile of decaying branches. The diversity of life is the gardens most exciting gift: the foundations of every moving moment, the colours, the scents, the sounds of life.

Of the 10 quin-trillion insects on the planet at any one time the UK is home to around 20,000 different species. Amongst these are beneficial species such as ladybirds and lacewings and less beneficial ones such as Thrips and Codling moths. All of the species are important in terms of how the planet works whether we like them or not.

In terms of plants our garden currently has around 150 species and we are slowly increasing this number each year with the addition of new plants. The garden is also home to a rich diversity of trees, including the rather rare Foxglove (Empress tree). In fact, there are more than 20 types of tree in the Garden including Eucalyptus and a Quince tree! Come in and have a look and see how many types of tree you can spot.

Our garden is worked and cared for by insects and invertebrates, in the soil, under stones, climbing along branches, boring into the bark, crawling through the bushes, flying from flower to flower.  Lacewings and ladybirds, honeybees and violet beetles, wasps on the wing and woodlice in the compost heap. In every way on every day these little creatures work to keep natures systems moving smoothly and, in the process, allowing us to live. Billions of individual creatures all interacting endlessly as a complex ecosystem and multiple food chains of which for the most part we are completely unaware. It is this invisible and unseen side of Nature that suffers so badly from much of our species methods of chemical driven land management. The ripple effect of this damage moves through the soil and food chains like cancer.

The way in which the garden is cared for is crucial to the survival and further evolution of these natural processes. Diversity of species, the density of planting, growth and spread, pruning and cutting, recycling and reusing of waste material, chemical-free Organic preservation. Underfoot the soil is managed and aerated by a widespread colony of earthworms whose constant tunnelling and eating habits keep the soil active. On rainy days these little creatures rise to the surface away from the increasing water levels only to find the birds who enjoy eating them waiting for a snack. This is Nature at work, the most wonderful magic given us for free.

The community garden is your garden. If you want to celebrate a children’s birthday party let us know and we can reserve a corner for you in return for a small donation. You do need to book it though, through reception.

To raise funds for the charity we also sell a range of plants, grown on-site and small bags of compost produced on site.

The garden is also available for private hire.