It’s spring time! The time when all hardened city dwellers throw off their Ugg boots and turn their thoughts to young saps rising and birds a tweeting (yes, tweets don’t just belong on mobile phones, you know). In other words, it’s time to get out into London’s outdoor spaces and gardens. So we were thrilled to hear that four London gardening projects topped the Gardening Against the Odds awards, presented last week at Syon Park.
The awards were set up to celebrate those who battle physical or environmental odds, ‘to create a beautiful private or public garden or communal green space that touches the lives of others’, according to the GATO website.
The winner of this year’s awards is Sajeda Kadir, who runs a community vegetable garden at West End Sidings, a disused adventure playground in Kilburn. Under Sajeda the garden has thrived, offering local residents spinach, radishes, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, strawberries, sweet pumpkins, runner beans and herbs.
Sajeda cares for her disabled child at home and the project has enabled her to make connections with neighbours, as well as spotlighting her gardening talent.
Runners up include the Putting Down Roots project, run by St Mungo’s, which encourages people who have experienced homelessness to transform their lives and gain training by working at the St John’s churchyard gardens at Waterloo. There they can tend the churchyard garden, work on the allotment there and maintain the nearby Melior Street community gardens.
Awards of Merit went to the Edible Bus Stop team in Stockwell, who worked with local residents to create a thriving fruit, vegetable and herb garden at a bus stop in Stockwell. There are already other Edible gardens at Lambeth Hospital bus stop, and West Norwood Fire Station bus stop and an Edible route is planned soon.
Another Award of Merit went to George Dunnion and Serge Charles in Haringey who transformed a waterlogged and rubbish-filled allotment plot in Bounds Green into a spectacular rose garden, which is planned to open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme later in the year. Rebecca Taylor