Estates dig in for spring

8 February 2019

Written by: Urban Growth with Lambeth Council

Environment - Focus on Brixton - Focus on Clapham - Focus on North Lambeth - Voluntary and community sector

Residents on six Lambeth estates volunteered to come out in the winter for bulb planting days to brighten up the communal green areas in spring.

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Estates dig in for spring

Lambeth Council commissioned local social enterprise Urban Growth – who support edible living schemes on Lambeth estates to grow vegetables, salad, and herbs – to run bulb planting days to bring communities together and give them colour and biodiversity to look forward to in spring.

Bulbs and seeds

The Tenants and Residents Associations on Tulse Hill, Woodvale, St Matthews, Penwith Manor, Larkhall and Fenwick Estates all got volunteers together for a day to  sow wild flower seed and plant spring-flowering crocuses, daffodils, scillas, fritillaries, tulips and snowdrops.

Heralding winter’s end

Flora Gordon of Urban Growth said “Early spring flowers offer a valuable source of food for insects and pollinators when not much else is available. The bright colour glistening in the sunshine, heralding the end of winter, is also a welcome sight that lifts the spirits.”

A real mix

“There was a real mix of ages at the community planting day, from toddlers to teenagers to retired residents. They had fun choosing where to plant which bulbs, and burying them next to scatterings of garlic powder (to hopefully deter the squirrels and mice from eating them!)”

Hands-on involvement

“We’ve had really positive feedback from the estates, with comments about how the residents felt included through working hands-on to improve the environment.

  • Penwith Estate said they were happy that we were involving residents, as usually the green areas around the flats are planted up without the residents knowing when it will happen, or having the opportunity to get involved.
  • Fenwick Estate asked if there could be more planting days to help bring residents together and show that they care about the place they all live. The TRA said how happy residents were that something different was happening this year.
  • Larkhall Estate also said that usually, gardeners come, do the job and leave. They were happy that we were engaging the community. They really enjoyed the fact that they could choose what to plant and where. People young and old are looking forward to seeing the flowers in Spring!”

Food growing

If you’re interested in setting up food-growing on your estate, support is available from the Council with expert advice from Urban Growth as part of Lambeth’s Edible Living programme. Please get in touch: