Our Octopus Community Plant Nursery is a wonderful resource that helps us deliver our community projects in lots of different ways. Sadly, it’s had to be closed temporarily to make sure that everyone was protected from the virus and the We Can Grow team have all had to work from home. We were really worried about how to make sure the plants and the space were still looked after and also that there was going to be some seed sowing and planting so that, finally, when the lockdown was over, we would have plants and food to share with all our community growing groups.
We are really fortunate that we have had Ian, our wonderful and committed local regular plant nursery volunteer (he has never missed a session yet) going into the plant nursery 3 – 4 times a week, looking after everything, sowing new seeds and keeping the plants going until we can all return safely. Ian has been going in one his own and maintaining hygiene precautions against the virus, so he is safe and no one else is at risk.
One of our recent successful projects has been the redevelopment of the tired and unloved space at the entrance of Market Road Gardens in front of Haywards Adventure Playground, in Market Road. With funding secured from the Mayor of London’s Greener City Fund we have transformed a space that was a dumping area for green waste compost and a turning circle for community buses into a wonderful wildlife garden, the Wild and Green Nature Garden. Lots of wildflowers were sown and grown by students from Beacon High School in Tufnell Park back in October last year. They were potted on by the students in February this year in preparation to being planted out to make the Wild and Green Nature Garden even more beautiful. Ian has been looking after them!
The Covid-19 lockdown has put that work on hold for now, so we thought how they might better benefit our community. Many of the elderly people that usually come regularly to the Lunch Club at Whittington Park Community Association and get involved in outdoor nature activities in the 4H Hops, Herbs Health and Happiness Garden, another of our successful community projects, are currently isolated at home. To cheer them up we sent them each a basket with a wildflower plant for them to grow on at home.
There are still plenty of wildflower plants growing on in the Community Plant Nursery for when we can get back together with the Beacon High students to plant them out at the Wild and Green Nature Garden , as well as lots of veggie plants which we are growing on to produce to lovely fresh veg to supplement the food parcels being shipped out daily from our community centres.