Category Archives: Gardening

New community garden

Have you always thought that something useful should be done with the patch of waste ground at the junction of Roupell Road and Christchurch Road? Well now is your chance to make something beautiful happen! Our friends at St Martin’s Estate are planning to create a community garden there and are wanting to hear our ideas. There will be a Zoom meeting next Wednesday, so go along to learn more and get involved.

An artist’s impression of how the garden could look

The hedge is completed

After three days of work, eight volunteers from the gardening group have managed to plant all 420 trees that make up our new hedge. The hedge is made up of six native species of tree – hazel, silver birch, dogwood, hawthorn, wild cherry and rowan. Over the coming years, as the hedge grows, it will start to provide shelter and food for many species of wildlife. It will also be a colourful border to the estate,it will help absorb pollution from the road and it will remove carbon dioxide from the air.

The last section of hedge being planted this morning

Thanks again to the Woodland Trust for supplying the trees and to these companies for providing the funding:

Hedge planting update

Today was the first day of planting trees to make a hedge next to the south circular road and the gardening group has made a cracking start! Out of 420 trees, they managed to plant 285, working in a relay throughout the day.

One of the volunteers hard at work in the morning
The final section of hedge that was completed today

Thank you to the Woodland Trust for supplying the trees and to the following companies for providing the funding:

The Urban Hedgerow

The Palace Road Estate gardening group bring you:

The Palace Road Estate is very green, with lots of grass and trees, but there is limited habitat for wildlife, with little food and shelter for birds and invertebrates. We also have one of the busiest roads in south London running along one boundary of our estate – the south circular – with its noise and pollution. To help address these problems, the gardening group is planning to plant a hedge between the estate and the south circular, running along part of the existing fence.

The trees for our hedge will be supplied by the Woodland Trust, free of charge. In November, we expect to receive 420 saplings of a variety of species: hawthorn, dogwood, wild cherry, silver birch, rowan, hazel. These are native trees that will provide food and shelter for local wildlife. The leaves and berries will provide a colourful display all year.

The gardening group had planned to hold a mass planting day, to which the whole community would be invited. However, given the current pandemic-related restrictions, this will not be possible. Planting will take place gradually, with no more than six people involved at any time. If you would like to join in, get in touch with the gardening group at gardening@prera.org.uk.

Damage to community planting

Last spring residents brightened up Palace Road Estate by planting flowers, with support from Urban Growth.

Community planting event – 31 March 2019

The geraniums which we planted in the long bed at the entrance to Coburg Crescent, near Despard House, had been doing particularly well. There has been a fine display of green foliage and pink flowers this spring and summer.

Geranium sanguineum ‘Vision Pink’ – May 2020

In early August the geraniums in this bed lost their leaves and flowers and their stems were damaged.

Damaged geranium – 5 August 2020

The geraniums along the length of the bed were damaged in this way. The photos below from early July and early August are “before” and “after” images. In the “before” photo, geranium foliage can be seen along the length of the front of the bed; this was still present at the beginning of August. In the “after” photo, the geranium foliage along the front of the bed has disappeared.

The damage occurred on Monday 3 or Tuesday 4 August. A member of the Estate’s gardening group spotted the damage on the Tuesday afternoon. Pinnacle – the council’s grounds maintenance contractors – had been on the estate on the Monday to mow and strim.

Pieces of geranium foliage had been left lying in the bed. These demonstrate that the plants had still been in leaf when they were damaged.

Geranium foliage left lying in the bed – 4 August 2020

The gardening group co-ordinator has sent a complaint to Lambeth Council asking for an apology for the damage and replacement of the damaged plants. She has also asked for assurance that the council and their contractors will not damage other planting performed by residents. An update will be provided on this blog once a full response has been received.

Gardening group update: enhancing our estate

One of the gardening group’s aims is to brighten up the estate and the local area. Recently we brought a disused planter on Palace Road, outside Baly House, back into use.

In June we cleared the planter of weeds and self-seeded trees. We also broke up the compacted soil. Here are members of the group hard at work.

Then in July we put in the wonderful plants shown in the photos below. These plants were donations from Chelsea Physic Garden. This amazing garden, tucked away beside the Thames, is the oldest botanic garden in London. It contains a collection of around 5,000 different edible, useful and medicinal plants that have changed the world. It’s well worth a visit!

Many thanks to Nell Jones, the Head Gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden, for passing these spare plants on to our community gardening group. Thanks too to Iain Houten, Marketing Officer, for helping to arrange for us to collect them.

Collecting the plants from Chelsea Physic Garden

Do you have further ideas for how the gardening group could brighten up the estate? Would you like to get involved? Do contact us at gardening@prera.org.uk

How to install a vegetable planter in 7 easy steps

In a previous post, we wrote about the gardening group’s ‘productive planters’. In this post, we look in a bit more detail at how the planters were installed.

Step 1: Choosing a good spot

We chose the area between the service road and Chalner, Despard and Ponton Houses. This spot gets good sunlight for most of the day. Lots of residents pass by and can enjoy seeing the plants grow and help to pick the produce. Also, several members of the gardening group live close by and can help with watering. We informed Lambeth Council, as the legal landowners, of our plans.

Step 2: Moving the planters into place

The planters were made by Farrans at the Resource Centre construction site with wood salvaged from the old shop. We carried them through the estate to their new home.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 3: Lining the planters

Next, we lined the planters. The material was kindly donated by Iain Houten from Mawbey Farm on Mawbey Brough Estate in north Lambeth. We used a staple gun to secure the liner to the planter.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 4: Knocking the planters into the ground

We knocked the planters into the ground using a very big hammer to ensure that they would be stable and wouldn’t move.

Learning point: The lining material started to come off whilst we were knocking the planters into the ground. When we installed two further planters the following weekend, we lined the planters after knocking them into the ground. That worked much better.

Learning point: The ground is very hard in this area of the estate and it was very difficult to knock the first two planters into the ground. We asked Farrans to make the next two planters with much shorter legs. That made this step much easier.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 5: Filling the planters with soil and compost

We filled the planters with soil which Farrans had given us from the Resource Centre construction site. We added compost on the top. This had been kindly donated by Pinnacle.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 6: Planting seedlings

Children from the estate, helped by their parents, planted seedlings in the new planters.

This child and his sister brought along these wonderful brightly coloured tools
Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 7: Watering the new seedlings

The children watered the seedlings after planting them. A team of residents from the estate is continuing to water the plants every day.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Would you like to get involved with the Palace Road Estate gardening group? If so, do get in touch by email at gardening@prera.org.uk

Gardening group update: productive planters

At the end of June and in early July, the Palace Road Estate gardening group installed four planters in the grassy area between Chalner, Despard and Ponton Houses. We’re growing herbs and vegetables for local residents to harvest and enjoy.

The new planters in late July – the herbs and vegetables are thriving

The planters were made by Farrans who are building the Resource Centre on Coburg Crescent.

Cath from the gardening group collecting a new planter from Farrans
Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

We took soil from the construction site to fill the planters. Reusing materials in this way is good for the environment.

Rob from the gardening group transporting soil from the construction site to the planting area

Local children helped to plant herbs and vegetable seedlings in the new planters. The plants are being watered regularly by a team of local residents and they’re looking really healthy. Tomatoes, beans and squashes are starting to form and will hopefully be ready to pick soon.

Don’t these tomatoes look amazing!

Thank you to the following people:

  • Farrans for building the planters and providing the soil
  • Pinnacle for providing compost
  • Chelsea Physic Garden for donating white beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli and chillis
  • Iain Houten from Mawbey Brough Estate for donating a range of herb and vegetable seedlings
  • Incredible Edible Lambeth and the Capital Growth Community Harvest initiative for their ongoing support of the Palace Road Estate gardening group.

Would you like to get involved in gardening on Palace Road Estate? Or do you have suggestions which you’d like to share for improving our green spaces? Do contact us at gardening@prera.org.uk

Gardening and food growing

Would you like to get involved in gardening and food growing on Palace Road Estate? Some residents have come together (online) to start a gardening group. We’d love more people to join us and we’d love to hear your ideas. Suggestions so far have included:

  • Planting more flowers around the estate, like we did with Urban Growth last year.
  • Growing vegetables, perhaps in raised beds or in an allotment area.
  • Enhancing the existing planters around the estate, including the ones on top of the Despard, Ponton, Baly and Ducavel House garages.
  • Having areas of the estate as wildflower / low mow areas, so that residents can enjoy the colourful wildflowers (and so insects can enjoy them too).

Would you like to get involved? Do you have ideas that you would like to share? Do get in touch with us at gardening@prera.org.uk

A resident weeding outside Baly House. What else would you like in these planters? Some edible herbs, perhaps?

We have plenty of support available to us. For example, Incredible Edible Lambeth – who support food growing schemes across the borough – are keen to help us get started. There are also free things, such as soil and materials to make raised beds, and funding that we can apply for.

A note regarding the coronavirus pandemic: Although we may be limited in what we can do face-to-face at the moment, there is plenty that we can still do as individuals and as household groups. We can also use social media and online meetings to stay in touch with each other and share ideas. Incredible Edible Lambeth have also collated useful guidance to help community gardening groups to operate safely during this time.

Some local sources of inspiration:

Neighbours on Limetree Close have created these wonderful planters
The Doodlebug Garden on Wavertree Road
Hillside Gardens Estate