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Wick Fish Garden Walk

WHEN: Sunday 19th of May 2013 2:00PM - 5:00PM
WHAT: Walk
WHERE: Biggs Square Central Court Yard, Felstead Street, London, E9 5DT

Join us on a walk through Hackney Wick and Fish Islands' gardens. We will be visiting some of the many green spots in the area - from kitchen gardens to ambitious community projects and social enterprises. We will be joined by local gardeners and initiators behind the projects, each giving a short explanation about their specific garden.

The walk will set off at Biggs Square and will last for 2-3 hours,
RSVP necessary as places are limited.

Some of the places along the way: Biggs Square central courtyard garden, Leabank Square (Purple) Garden, Mabley Meadow, Mabley Green, Cre8 Arc, Wonder Yard Garden, Yard Theatre kitchen garden, Organic Wick and Vittoria Wharf garden, and others ...

The walk is the result of a conversation with Sarah Bancroft who, in collaboration with other residents, has been involved in setting up the Biggs Square garden project (see text below). The walk is a response to the desire to link up with other gardeners in the area.

BIGGS SQUARE GARDEN, E9

The garden in the middle of Biggs Square, off Felstead Street in Hackney Wick, is an experiment. It is now in its third incarnation. As the visual focus of a square which is just four years old and the home to 250 people who were strangers to one another until they moved into its 122 flats and maisonettes, this is perhaps inevitable. A community, as much as a garden, has to be grown.

In the first two years, the original landscaping – a mixture of 18 containers large enough to contain small trees, edge borders and a 25ft x 30ft raised central bed – suffered neglect (a gardening contract had not been put in place) and vandalism. The central bed, particularly, under-planted with uninspiring shrubs, became a toilet for dogs and worry for parents whose children chased across it. After considerable discussion, Family Mosaic, the housing association behind the square, got Groundwork, an environmental regeneration charity, involved: in late spring 2011, the central bed was remade into 24 "Vacant Lot" allotments for interested residents to grow fruit and veg. Eight gardening sessions were run to kickstart the project.

The garden's second incarnation had a good first season – until the school holidays when a combination of the end of Groundwork's sessions and bored children resulted in damaged crops and disillusioned gardeners. Vacant Lot struggled through 2012 with a dwindling number of growers and further damage. It was clear that without more input – chiefly a fence of some kind and a led, regular gardening club – the project would be unsustainable.

This year, we have Biggs Square gardens Mk III. A fence has been built, the plots slightly remodelled and we have the beginnings of a gardening club. A number of us feel the garden can be an important part of generating a flourishing community – a place to grow things, green the square and make strong connections. We are watching our space!