Filed under: Volunteers
I really can’t stress enough how important our volunteers are for Gardening club. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do all the things we currently do so again, I want to say a huge thank you to them. Here Imogen Sharp, mum of two children at Gospel Oak primary school – and a keen gardener, tells us all about herself.
I’ve had a small garden in London for many years and enjoy working in it as well as relaxing. Plants are an amazing and beautiful part of nature. At this time of year, seeing new shoots pushing up through the soil and buds sprouting on twigs is especially magical. I’m also interested in the design of gardens and open spaces, which are like outside rooms. They provide happiness and relaxation, as well as food to eat – and can be peaceful but often sociable too. I love grasses and bamboos, which add movement and lovely sounds to a garden, like water.
“I am studying for a qualification in garden and planting design, at Capel Manor College, learning about how plants, like animals, thrive best in the right conditions – sunny, shady, wet or dry, for example. Plants often don’t survive if they’re put in the wrong spot – it’s always tempting to buy a plant that looks nice, without considering the motto ‘right plant in the right place’. I’ve learnt about how plants go best together, to create visual interest with harmony and contrast, like the architecture of buildings and towns.
“I also love cooking, and using the herbs in my garden. This year, I’ll also be growing some vegetables with my children – we’ve already dug some space for them. Gardening – even herbs or a bean in a window sill pot – is a fantastic way for children to learn about the environment and the biology of how things develop, as well as growing food to cook and eat. They also develop their skills in nurturing and looking after things – and patience, of course! The Gardening Club is a great opportunity for the children at Gospel Oak school. It is a privilege to help at it.”
Filed under: Volunteers
There is no way that gardening club could run without our fantastic volunteers who help out each week. They deserve a big mention so I have asked each one to tell us a bit about themselves…starting us off is Vince!
I have been gardening on Branch Hill Allotments for about fourteen years now. We have about 32 allotments which we rent individually from Camden Council. It is a lovely space at the top of Hampstead, and near to the Heath, on which to garden. We grow vegetables individually and look after the common parts together. For general matters, we have formed an Association, (a bit like the gardening club!) of which I have been Secretary and am now Chairman.
This is the time of the year when I plan what to grow and whereabouts on the allotment plot and when. Generally onion sets and broad beans go in first sometimes as early as November but if not in February; these will be followed by potatoes and peas in early March and then spinach and chard and rocket for salads later in the same month. Parsnips and leeks for the winter go in at about the same time or a little later. More plantings are made in April of all of these vegetables so that there is hopefully a supply of all of them for quite a few months from June. The last crops to be planted are French and runner beans from the middle of May. It is nice when all the vegetables are planted and just need looking after with watering and nets to keep the birds off and beer traps to stop the greedy slugs.
The allotment gardeners consider themselves lucky to have their plots and are pleased to share the space with the children of Gospel Oak Primary School when they visit with their teachers and the gardening club helpers as they are always interested in what’s growing and how they can help look after the vegetables.
Gospel Oak pupils have been coming to the allotments for about six years now and have been photographed helping and learning about growing there by Howard Sooley of the Observer. Some of the pictures are I think on the web site. We look forward to visits this year.
Branch Hill Gardening Club Member
Chair Branch Hill Allotments Association
Jan 5 09