We are coming up to seven years since the garden sprouted. In that time the garden has seen plotholders come and go, ‘digger’ involvement wax and wane and a few gardeners still there tilling since the start.
There are a growing number of community gardens around the country and city and they are all unique to their place and people. Some have all individual plots, some embrace the widest sense of “community” and are a free pick for all and any, whilst others, like ours, are membership based and have a mix of individual and communal plots.
For those who wander in, it can be a bit confusing as to what’s what in our garden. Things are not as clearly demarcated as some community gardens (definitely no fences between plots!). We are in the process of introducing more signage, so people can see who’s plot is whose and what’s needing to be done, where and how in the communal ‘digger’ areas.
One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about the garden is the sense of generosity and also respect – we’ve found people take less, rather than more, when we share the harvests, plotholders readily offer other gardeners their excesses; and, mostly, the shed is kept fairly tidy and people chop up their crop residues for the compost (!). I also like that non members enjoy our garden just as much as we do, wandering through or sitting under the pepper trees, or picnicking.
For all community groups it’s a challenge to embrace the energy and history and ideals of its beginnings, whilst also to change and grow as new ideas, energy and approaches enter. Or just to hold the space, whilst waiting for new ideas and energy to enter!
If you have new ideas, energy and want to get involved in the garden, come along to our first garden meeting for the year on Sunday 5 March at noon to talk about how our garden grows, and how we manage it. There will be a session on summer pruning after a shared lunch (BYO). Stay on to learn more about pruning your stone or pome fruit – you can try on our trees first.