Last Sunday Time and Talents and New Leaf held a Planting Day for Adams Gardens estate in Rotherhithe. The idea was to plant up a couple of neglected patches of land with the help of residents from the estate. The project also planted uo a series of balcony boxes with both edible and ornamental plants and gave them to residents to brighten up their own homes. Bruno Lacey from New Leaf was supervising the planting when I passed by. ‘The idea is to get people involved in caring for their own area and to help make it less threatening for older residents’ said Bruno. The overgrown shrubs and undergrowth had been cleared revealing poor leached soil and a tangle of tree roots. The team – with help from some local kids and loads of great compost – on Sunday were preparing the soil, putting in climbers to give cover to the walls and planting new shrubs and flowers to give the plots new life. Alongside them, residents were busy planting up the balcony boxes with veg and flowers to give to flats who wanted them.
The Adams Gardens Planting Day is part of a larger project that has seen several Rotherhithe estates brightened up in similar ways. On each the team from Time and Talents – based at the Old Mortuary in Rotherhithe – have longterm relations with the residents – both young and elderly – and have worked to get people’s views on the key issues they want addressed. Time and Talents have also negotiated with the Council and Tenants and Residents Associations to get the work done in the best way possible. New Leaf – based in Dulwich and working across London – have successfully raised £3,200 through crowd-funding to establish a community greenhouse in Time and Talent’s car park. The plants from the greenhouse and some from commercial growers have been used to plant up the new beds and the balcony boxes. At other times of the week, the greenhouse becomes a classroom for budding horticulturists and volunteer growers to brighten up SE16!