Out of nowhere popped a garden!

Photo:Some of the volunteers who created the pop-up garden

Some of the volunteers who created the pop-up garden

Photo:One of the temporary benches

One of the temporary benches

Part of consultation about the future of Valley Gardens

By Tom Williams, B&H Food Partnership

From 16th-29th September 2013 a pop-up garden blossomed on the south lawn at St Peter’s Church, part of Valley Gardens. Visitors to the garden relaxed on benches, smelled the sweet purple basil and admired the many plants grown in weird and wonderful containers, from fruit trees planted in wheelie bins to herb gardens in old oil drums.

Space usually used just as a cut-through

It was great to see people using this space that is often only used as a cut through. One woman told us that she had been suffering from depression for many years and never usually stopped when crossing the lawn but while the garden was there she often made time to sit among the plants and find a moment of peace and happiness

Overnight it became a social space

Twitter users also enjoyed the space, using it as a spot to enjoy the patches of autumn sun, teach their children about growing and pick up tips for growing in containers if they had limited space at home. One person commented that it was “quite magical how it attracts people in.” Overnight a rather sorry, empty piece of land had become a hub for people to socialise, relax and learn.

Community food growing

The Food Partnership wants to see more food grown in public spaces like Valley Gardens. People tell us every day about the benefits of food growing to their mental and physical health. Gardens in public spaces also reduce instances of anti-social behaviour and bring the local community together to meet each other. All the plants at the pop-up garden were borrowed from various community gardens across the city and each came with its own story. If you are interested in getting more involved in community food growing see www.harvest-bh.org.uk.

Considering the future of Valley Gardens

The project formed part of a consultation about the future of Valley Gardens. It set out to inspire people about what the space could be used for in the future and give them food for thought about how the area could be developed. Many people came away wanting to see a more permanent garden in that space. The consultation is now closed but if you’d like to keep up to date with the plans for the area, join the Food Partnership at www.bhfood.org.uk/join.  


[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 225, November/December 2013]

This page was added on 16/12/2013.

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