Posted by: Ealing Transition Community Garden | May 25, 2011

Walpole Park Kitchen Garden

You may not know, but hidden away within the walled garden adjacent to Pitzhanger Manor there is a community kitchen garden.

The garden was created ‘overnight’ (almost) last year, in some of the old rose beds, as part of consultation that Ealing Council was carrying out as part of their application for Heritage Lottery Funding for significant work to Walpole Park and the historic Pitzhanger Manor. Slightly raised beds were built and plants were planted in their pots (a la Chelsea) so that they could be removed again. The garden was installed to help gauge interest within the community and park users about the presence of a kitchen garden within the park (the walled garden used to be a kitchen garden as part of the original manor – the roses are much more modern).

The council didn’t have a definite plan at the beginning about what would happen to the garden – options included dismantling the garden and giving away the plants or selling them. However at the end of the month-long consultation, the garden was looking so good and people were generally very positive about it. So we offered to help keep it going and members of Ealing Transition Community Garden kept it maintained and weeded in the late summer 2010.

Since then, Florence, the outreach officer at the council (a position funded by the lottery application) has been co-ordinating local groups, including adults with learning difficulties and young offenders, to keep the garden going. We’ve been helping out by providing planting plans for winter and summer and holding occasional dig days when the work is needed.

Now, in the busiest time of year in the garden, Florence is holding drop in dig days on Thursdays, 10am-12noon (except tomorrow, which is 2-4) for anyone who wants to come along. We’ve added these into our calendar (under ‘Upcoming Events’). You don’t need to bring any tools, although bring gloves if you like to use them (there are a few stinging nettles that need to be weeded out!).

The garden is still looking great (although young plants are suffering a bit from the extremely dry weather), and attracts a lot of interest and pleasure from people passing through the garden. In fact, last night we held our steering group in the garden and while we were doing some watering we got chatting to a couple of different people passing through who were keen to be involved.

The outcome of the Heritage Lottery Funding application for the park should be known in June, although any physical works are associated with it are unlikely to take place until 2012.

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