Wow! A year has flown by since Barnes Community Gardeners did their first gardening project at Vine Road Park in spring 2022. Since then, over a thousand volunteer hours have been spent on community projects in Barnes and lots of fun has been had by all, writes Susie Pugh, Project Co-ordinator for Barnes Community Gardeners.
The benefits of working with and in nature are well documented. Both physical and mental health can be improved by the companionship of growing together outdoors.
Here in Barnes, volunteers and residents are brought together by Susie and Crispin to work on projects that benefit, not only the people involved, but also the environment. Many of our residents live alone and welcome the additional social contact, not to mention the joys of sowing, growing, seeing and eating the fruits of their labours!
One very congenial project is the Monday gardening club at Walsingham Lodge. A group of residents and volunteers work cheerfully alongside each other and many new friendships have been formed. As well as work in residents’ gardens, together we have created a new seating area with tubs of herbs for all to use and enjoy. Behind the new bench the English bluebells donated and planted by Jane, a regular volunteer, are beginning to show.
We also work with FiSH helping in their clients’ gardens and with Age UK Richmond at the Barnes Green Centre maintaining their planters and the courtyard garden which provides visitors with an oasis of calm.
At Barnes Primary School and Lowther Primary School the children garden weekly with Susie in their allotment areas. Cries of, ‘Eek, a worm!’ have changed to, ‘Wow, a worm, how cool!’ These enthusiastic children are the gardeners of the future.
This Spring we have signed up to The RHS Big Seed Sow. We’ll be giving out free wildflower seeds to sow in tree pits and selling British native wildflower plants loved by British native pollinators.
Come and visit us outside the OSO under the BCA gazebo on Saturday 1st April from 10am to 12 noon.
Recently we’ve been strengthening our links with two local housing associations working on four different sites with residents, supporting them to get out into the gardens and spend time with each other and nature.
The primroses, violets and early daffodils are evidence that spring is on its way and we have many more gardening projects in the pipeline.
We are so very lucky to have the beautiful common and many other other green spaces in Barnes. Looking after them and each other we can really make a difference in our wonderful local community.