Budding gardeners grow skills in council scheme

As Love Parks Week (23-31 July) approaches, Ealing Council is looking for more volunteers to lend a hand in the walled garden in Walpole Park, Ealing.

Volunteers grow crops in Walpole Park's walled kitchen garden.

The kitchen garden grows traditional, heritage varieties of crops and flowers that would have been planted in the 1800s at the time when architect Sir John Soane built Pitzhanger Manor House.

The garden is staffed entirely by volunteers and community groups, with the council and a steering group, which includes Walpole Friends, coordinating the work.  Now the council is looking for more volunteers to come along to the drop-in sessions every Thursday morning.

Those taking part do not have to be expert gardeners, but just have a willingness to work hard and get involved.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to take produce home when it is ready.  There are also regular harvest events, when anyone can drop by and pick up any surplus fruit and vegetables.

The walled garden was brought back to life last year thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF).  It will also benefit from the £2.4million HLF grant the council won this month to further improve the park and protect its heritage.

Cabinet member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, said: “This is a fantastic scheme where gardeners of all abilities can share the work and their skills.  For novices it’s a great way to get started, while experienced gardeners can grow a greater variety of crops than they could probably manage single handed at home.  There is no need to sign-up and make a regular commitment, so I hope people will come along and give it a try.”

Drop-in sessions are each Thursday morning 10am to midday.  There is no need for volunteers to register in advance.  All equipment and materials are provided, but gardeners should wear old clothes they do not mind getting dirty.

For more information contact Florence Andrews on 07702 953938 or emailandrewsf@ealing.gov.uk