Communal Gardens are good for the soul!

The Town Green

Growing food or flowers as part of a community has numerous health and social benefits for people of all ages. Many years ago I did a project with Age Concern in Waltham Forest and I will never forget the delight of the people I interviewed about their allotment communities. Opposite my old nursery school in Deptford committed locals transformed a dumping ground into a beautiful herb garden  and saved a small pocket of green space from encroaching development.

It’s not only good for our souls, but essential for our cities to have green spaces, attracting pollinators, absorbing carbon and giving us spaces to meet and create.

This weekend 6th & 7th June 2015, Bristol is home to the Get Growing Garden Trail where Bristol’s food growers open their gardens and community plots and in our neighbourhood CHIS have organised Green Squares and Secret Gardens giving us the opportunity to visit large private gardens.

Sharing Communities is aiming to put our neighbourhood on the food growing trail as well as highlight all the amazing community garden projects already happening, such as The Town Green in Cliftonwood (above) and Easter Garden near Blackboy Hill. There are so many local groups who are working on growing more produce. With the exception of a few streets, we have small gardens, though many people have allotments just over the river, so maximising the communal and ‘waste’ spaces is the way to grow!

On the Cumberland Piazza in Hotwells, the local community have been using sacks as planters for years, and have now installed some purpose built ones made by Bristol Wood Recycling Project. The Wild Place Project, part of Bristol Zoo, are working with HCCA for several months and are now growing native plants for the site ready for planting next month. HCCA is also building a rainwater harvesting devise on the roof of some disused toilets as the site has no plumbing. Many people would like to see food grown on the piazza, so the pollution levels will have to be tested.

The Incredible Edible Network is a national food growing support group and here in Bristol they are helping people develop food growing in underused spaces, so we’ll be talking to them, too.

Avon Wildlife Trust have mapped our city to show all the green spaces. Here’s our neighbourhood.

It would be fantastic to take a community wander from the Downs in the north to the harbour in the south and look at what has been done and what more we could do. We can stop at various places along the way for refreshments and a bit of creative planting and creating planters from all sorts of unlikely objects. We’ll also be sketching, painting and photographing plants and spaces with skills artists.

  • Are you a gardener or food grower or a garden-y artist?
  • Have you transformed a communal space?
  • Do you know if any waste spaces we could turn into communal growing spaces?
  • Do you have spare seeds or plants to share with others in your neighbourhood?

Please get in touch annahaydockwilson@icloud.com

Related Topics,  Stories Coming Soon:

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