A reflective farewell and invitation to celebrate two years of growing together

This month I will be biding farewell to Pembroke House as I am moving onto a boat in East London.

Me in the garden halfway me - May 2011

There will be a farewell party on 17th January from 8pm at Pembroke House and I would LOVE to see you there! Friends and family welcome too!

We are currently recruiting for another community garden coordinator to live in the residency (please share the link with anyone you think might be interested!) and until I have handed over my role to the new recruit I will still be involved with the garden for the next month or so.

Whilst I am excited about embarking on my new life on a boat I will sorely miss Pembroke House with its dynamic mix of people and activities. I have laughed, cried, and learnt a lot of valuable lessons whilst living here. I would thus like to take this opportunity to reflect on both I and Pembroke Pocket Garden have matured since we  began growing food in this little pocket of space in the heart of Walworth.

In the beginning, the garden was just an idea and the space a blank canvas.

A blank Canvas

A blank Canvas

And look how far we have come since then:

Identifying the plants

Identifying the plan

We have grown lots of food and herbs in that time – this is just a snapshot of part of one crop!

We grew all of this food ourselves!

We grew all of this food ourselves!

We have shared lots of home grown and cooked food over communal lunches after our regular morning gardening sessions

One of our community lunches

One of our community lunches

The lunch club for older people which meets every Thursday in Pembroke House has been given unlimited access to the garden’s produce, which it has made use of on many occasions.

We have even dappled in enterprise and managed to sell some produce to a local pop restaurant, providing enough salad to feed 80 people!

In July 2012 we helped to organise and host the Wonderful Walworth festival which saw over 100 local people come together to celebrate wonderful activities going on in this neighbourhood.

Over 100 volunteers have volunteered together in the space, ranging from the age of 3-91, and from areas as diverse as the United States to the Ivory Coast, and Camden to the Old Kent Road!

We have hosted several volunteer days involving 40 young local people and 20 corporate volunteers.

How many accountants does it take to transform a garden?

How many accountants does it take to transform a garden?

We have had two greenhouses blow over, (this one, and this one!) and are having another one in the process of being built. 

Our skeleton greenhouse.

Our skeleton greenhouse.

All we need is a few hundred bottles and some people power to make it look like this:

Recycled Bottle Greenhouse

And these are just a few of the achievements we have had over the years – you can read more in our blog archives which contains 57 stories! 

On a more personal note, I feel like I have grown alongside the plants. Perhaps the most important lesson I have learnt is that being part of a community garden is as much about growing connections with people as it is about growing food. A particular highlight for me has been recognizing, harnessing and sharing skills within the group, from David’s carpentry and Fitsum’s cooking skills, to Shelagh’s ability to organise our seed database and Julicia’s ability to revamp our blog.

So in a nutshell, the last two years have been a fruit (and veg) ful time time in the community garden and I look forward to celebrating this with you next Thursday the 17th January from 8pm in Pembroke House. Children, gardeners, wellies – you name it, are all welcome!

And if you can’t make it to that, please do pop by our next gardening session on Sat 26th January from 11.30am-2pm.

Oh and for those of you who are interested, this is the boat I will be living on in East London. My new floating home

The beginnings of a floating garden

DO come and visit! And if you are interested in learning more about what it is like to live on a boat I will be blogging about the experience here.

One thought on “A reflective farewell and invitation to celebrate two years of growing together

  1. Nicky

    I was curious about if you ever thghuot of adjusting the page layout of your web site? It is well written; I really like what you have got to say. But maybe you can include a little more in the way of written content so people can connect to it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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