Posted on 15 June 2022
The power of a garden to bring people together is the inspiration behind designer James Smith’s London Square Community Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The story behind the garden started across the river in Battersea. Hidden away between tower blocks on the top of a former car park on the Doddington & Rollo estate is a half-acre secret garden created by volunteers. It has been built almost entirely with donated plants, trees, and shrubs, compost and tools, from places such as Kew Gardens and nearby Battersea Park.
The garden is a place to meet, to escape and to discover the joy of growing plants and food - providing a haven for everyone.
London Square discovered the garden after sponsoring the Open Gardens Weekend last year, run by the London Gardens Trust, where over 100 green spaces opened to the public.
The Doddington garden took part and the London square team went along and found a green oasis filled with local people and garden visitors enjoying a barbecue and relaxing in the sun trap garden, blooming with summer flowers and produce, with edible crops, butterfly friendly plants, and fig, cherry and apple trees.
Local residents grow produce for their own use and also share it out - anything from cauliflowers, cabbages, pumpkins and leeks to chillis, ginger and turmeric.
The garden is a place to meet, to escape to and to discover the joy of growing plants and food - providing a haven for everyone. Below the garden in the converted car park is a space occupied by a food bank and by STORM, a charity which provides support for victims and their families affected by domestic violence, and offers training services to young and older people, including a lunch club for the elderly. The Queen Consort visited STORM recently and praised the charity for its work in the local community.
Jo McDonagh, Sales and Marketing Director, London Square
Planting will be a mix of lush green textures with blue, purple, white, and pink flowers, with aromatic and scented plants, herbs and shrubs, with trees providing dappled shade. The produce section of the garden will have a mixture of vegetables and herbs.
Upcycled chairs have been designed by TV presenter Jay Blades’ furniture restorers, Jay & Co, who have also designed the cushion for the swing seat. Garden designer James Smith also visited Doddington and has invited volunteers to help in the build of the garden in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
“Bringing together a community is the living thread weaving through every aspect of this garden. There are two contrasting areas of what would be a larger garden. A welcoming meeting space with a large bespoke terrazzo table, inset with chess boards, for relaxing, eating and drinking under the shade of a pergola. Areas have been designed for growing produce and sharing. There is an outdoor kitchen for preparing and cooking food. A path leads to a calming oasis to escape - with a tranquil planted area, a swing seat for unwinding, a garden bookcase and a spot under the canopy of a tree.”
After Chelsea, the life cycle of the garden will continue, with key elements of the London Square Community Garden relocated to the Doddington & Rollo Community Roof Garden in Battersea, reflecting London Square’s commitment to promoting the importance of green spaces for local communities.
The company is also currently donating and installing raised bed gardens in schools, mental health facilities and community centres across all inner London boroughs.
“It’s really exciting to have inspired a garden at Chelsea. We hope it will encourage more people to come and visit us, whether it’s to help out, or simply to come and get to know their neighbours. The garden is a very equalising space. When you’re all digging the earth together, you can't help but make friends.”
Malissa Ritchie, Chair of the Doddington Garden Committee
This will be the second time London Square has sponsored a garden at Chelsea – winning Gold with a design by Jo Thompson in 2014. Find the London Square Community Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show May 23 to 27 May 2023.
Posted on 15 June 2022
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