In central London, space is extremely precious and this particular space (Gilbert Rose Garden) was originally filled with rubble from buildings which were being constructed in Wyvil Estate. Post-war construction left very little choice for appropriate measures.
The rubble was covered on top with crazy paving, in parts, and temporary measures to construct allotments for residents were made by putting in 8 inches of top soil.
The residents domestically used the allotments and planted their own favourite plants and trees without a uniform design.
The garden in decline
Eventually it overgrew and was neglected, becoming a derelict space filled with broken flower beds and glass. As the time went by, rodents and fox dens took over and we were unable to use this precious space at all.
In addition to this, it was a threat to residents (especially women and children living in Gilbert House).
In 2013 a petition was made to the council by the residents of Gilbert House and supporters to dominate this space and gradually transform it into a residential garden.
The space was painstakingly cleared over the last four years and was rebuilt with recycled materials rescued from building sites, new developments and other donations.
Relaunching the garden
Now this magnificent, colourful space in central London is filled with fruit trees, evergreens and roses, facilitating the residents of Gilbert House for their every-day needs as well as their events.
We invited our councillors to a barbecue to celebrate the re-opening and discussed plans for the future.
I very much hope that our community continue to come together to appreciate and work on bettering their environment. Through large events and small gardening evenings the Gilbert Rose Garden will house our future generation’s most memorable memories.