Secret Gardeners: Maddy and Clapham's Community Gardens

What does gardening mean to you? Secret Gardeners explores our connections to nature and community, and the reasons why we love to garden. In this edition, we find out about the benefits of community gardening in city spaces.


Where is your garden?
Once a week I go to Eden Community Garden in Clapham. It's a short walk from my flat and one of three community gardens in my neighbourhood! It's close enough that I can go and take a cup of coffee or my lunch.

What do community gardens do, and why are they important to people without gardens?
Living in London is expensive and outdoor space is not always affordable. Having access to green spaces and noticing how much nature there is, even in the city, is fascinating. 

Digging around in the soil and getting mucky can be relaxing as well as a social activity. Over the past year especially having that connection to others has been vital. Gardening seems much more fulfilling and valuable than always being sat in my flat.

What is your most used gardening tool?
I tend not to do tasks that require more than a basic grasp, trowel or some wire cutters, but my favourite gardening 'essential' is absolutely a rake. In the autumn, every week there would be a new carpet of leaves to sweep up. It’s really satisfying to be able to visually measure the effectiveness of work with a rake.

What is your favourite plant?
I'm always impressed by fluffy Fountain Grass. It is actually hard to keep alive in a British winter (so maybe not for me) but adds lots of funky textures. My favourite 'weed', if anyone is asking, is Green Alkanet… so satisfying to pull up!

What does gardening mean to you?
It's so refreshing to be reminded that London is not devoid of nature. There's actually so much going on and so many people who really care too. 

What’s next for your garden?
Well, I need to start spending more time at Eden. There has been much frog and bee-related activity recently, and now it's finally rained the flowers will be happy. It's going to be nice to spend more time there when it gets warmer.

I'm moving in a few months and looking for somewhere with a bit more outdoor space to have my own projects. (And maybe under a big tree that will drop lots of leaves for me to rake up)!


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