A look at community garden projects in the UK
Here on the Green Fingers blog we’ve been keen to draw attention to the brilliant work that gardening groups have been doing around Britain to help their communities. It’s fantastic to see the dedication of gardeners and volunteers who try to bring their communities together by working hard to improve and transform their environments.
There were some outstanding achievements in 2015 which have really inspired us. It’s worth taking a look at some of the highlights of the best work that we found last year, as well as some of the other excellent projects and groups that deserve everyone’s applause.
Community garden projects
RHS and It’s Your Neighbourhood
The Royal Horticultural Society is also running a campaign to help grassroots gardening with the Its Your Neighbourhood drive. Britain in Bloom is the RHS’s long-running competition to judge which town, village or community has managed to create the most environment. It’s not just about planting and maintaining flower beds and greenery – it has become a major initiative to ‘clean up and green up’ the local area.
While Britain in Bloom is often led by local authorities, It’s Your Neighbourhood is reserved for volunteer groups who get help and guidance from the RHS. There are some fantastic community gardening projects which have sprung up, including transforming a back alley into a garden, renovating a roundabout, getting everyone in the street to put up hanging baskets and improving the green spaces on a housing estate.
This small patch of land in Nottingham was used as a rubbish dump and seen locally as more of an eyesore than a community spot. Volunteers created flowerbeds from fallen logs, old tyres, and enlisted the help of a local school to build a strawberry patch. Now it’s a thriving part of the community and is busy every day.
When the skatepark was built next to an allotment site in Herefordshire’s county town, some of the allotment holders were nervous that the skaters might damage their plants. But plotholder Sharon Baugh brought the two sides together and planted some bamboo, fruit trees and perennials around the skate ramps.
These streets in Manchester were once part of a slum-clearance programme, but now the neighbourhood is bristling with plant life. Pay a visit to this part of Didsbury and you’ll find planters, hanging baskets, raised beds and some remarkably tidy and well-kept front gardens. The local community has seen a drop in anti-social behaviour and a much great sense of community cohesion.
These fantastic efforts by local people just go to show how much better our streets, villages and towns can be with a bit of local cooperation and drive. Congratulations to all the projects we’ve featured and the many others who work just as hard – with more than 2,200 community garden projects across the UK, there’s never been a better time to get involved.