As a small boy I remember my grandmother walking me through the local park. She wore one of those square patterned woollen coats with a big collar. Every now and then we would stop and she would pull a small paper bag from her very large pockets.
With her free hand she would snap off a small piece of whatever plant we stood by and would place it carefully into the bag and then her pocket. As I watched she would always say `green fingers make things grow`.
When we got home she would show me how to plant out each broken piece into small pots. Trimming the broken end clean it again before sliding carefully into its new home. My recollection is that they always rooted and her garden was the most eclectic melange of plants I ever knew.
At the end of her garden in Winchmore Hill was a wooden gate. One day she took my hand and with a pair of secateurs and a basket she led me down the garden to the gate which until then I had never been through.
Beyond the gate lay a wonderful place, Humming with activity and laughter, busy with people pushing wheelbarrows ,digging and chatting.
There at the end of her garden was a huge shared allotment. Every house around it had some space to grow. Every space was a collage of greens reds and yellows, canes and frames, sheds of all sizes painted in bright colours. Butterflies fluttered and bees buzzed while spiders spun their silken webs and candy striped deckchairs lay under worn out parasols.
Together we walked past runner beans and artichokes, tomatoes and cabbages, past grape vines and roses clambering overhead.
Everyone we passed said hello with a smile offering cups of tea and occasionally gingernut biscuits.
For me as a small boy it was special , magical, a place where life felt good. The memory of it and it’s magnetic attraction have stayed a part of my life ever since.
Since then I have gardened in many places and with many people, some for fun and others for more complex reasons. I have designed and constructed, planted and cropped, sown seeds, pruned and trimmed.
Currently I work in two Community Gardens in London, each a charity offering a calm green space in a crowded hectic city . I support biodiversity and am totally Organic in every aspect of my life.
The Hoxton Trust Community Garden
The Community Gardens I work in are very different and offer a multitude of possibilities to their visitors. They are used for birthdays, educational visits, art classes, music events, poetry evenings and the obvious summer and winter celebration’s
Forest Gate Community Garden
I run workshops and short courses on a wide range of topics from Composting and Biodiversity to Organic Food Growing and Container Gardening.
Here are the links to both garden websites