It seemed such a waste; a pocket woodland, at the heart of Stockwell ‘s Spurgeon Estate, locked and neglected; Apart from kids climbing over the railings occasionally, and a fox feeling very much at home there, the garden was unused and falling into disrepair. It was particularly tragic to see this in inner London, where green spaces are so valuable.
Refurbish and replant
Residents had been excluded from the garden for over 20 years, and nobody quite remembers why it was locked in the first place. A core group of Spurgeon Residents (TRA) resolved to reopen the garden – the Secret Garden – and raised sufficient funds to refurbish and replant the dilapidated plot. We have already planted more than 100 plants left over after the Chelsea Flower Show. Longer term plans include beehives and a community composting scheme.
On 21 July the Secret Garden Garden Party, part of London National Park City Festival, celebrates the reopening of this green space to all residents. Picnic amid wildflowers. A VIP guest will plant a mulberry to inaugurate the pocket woodland. Meet misunderstood women who altered history with Edinburgh-bound Polly Clamorous in their darkly comic musical compendium, Herstory. Sip lemonade at the Dandy Animals Tea Party, and be captivated by the joyful sounds of Vauxhall Voices.
What’s growing on?
There’s an area with raised beds for growing vegetables as well as a wildlife garden. Any residents interested in growing food for the table can join a free ‘edibles’ workshop at the 21 July launch party, run by a community gardener.
The activity around the Secret Garden is already changing lives on the estate; more residents are getting to know each other and starting to get involved. One keen gardener from Kelvedon House, couldn’t wait for the raised beds to be built and has started cultivating vegetables on a small plot she carved out at the foot of the residential tower block. The Secret Garden gives an opportunity for neighbours to nurture their environment, the community and their own wellbeing.