…and they are! Corinne and Jim originally knew new Master Gardener Nick P through the community group, Making Colliers Wood Happy. Nick (centre) supports the couple with gardening advice and encouragement to keep growing. He’s giving them this Red Kuri squash plant and more pumpkin seeds too on this visit.
Nick helps run Sustainable Merton, a growing project in the Six Bridges Estate area next to the river Wandle in Merton. Here, local growers meet twice a week for communal gardening and can drop in at other times to tend their plots.
Corinne, a language teacher and mother of a nine year old daughter, says
…I changed my working pattern so I could make the Wednesday morning session! I’d never really gardened before. I came for a while and joined in. Nick showed me his garden and ways he’s gardening – ways to keep the water in the soil, for instance. I’m learning on the job with all the support I need.
This site, owned by the National Trust, was developed by Nick and his colleagues at Sustainable Merton, a group originally set up and funded as part of Wandle Valley Low Carbon Zone, a London-wide Mayoral office initiative. The group renovated a rotavator lent by the timber mill adjacent and have 25 mini-plots to draw local people into gardening. The group aim to hand over the project to the community once it’s fully established. They are already working with the borough to clear another site on the same model.
It’s great. I haven’t had to invest in tools, the group has them. I’ve also been able to bring other parents and children along and show them how to prepare a plot.
Nick works from home repairing Velocette motorbikes – a unique niche in the market! He has an idyllic back garden full of wild life and, most ingeniously, an air raid shelter that he uses for rain water storage. However, he likes to get to the twice weekly sessions at Sustainable Merton, ‘It’s so relaxing’.
Making Colliers Wood Happy: as Corinne says, once you’ve got involved ‘your social life is full after that’. Community and growing are thriving in Merton.
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