Gardening movement

02-Wanstead-Place-Clinic© Denise Rooney

Marian Temple from the Wanstead Community Gardeners takes a look at the Wanstead Place Clinic garden, a site that epitomises the group’s ethos of collective effort, but is also home to some mystery goings-on

Our latest garden has really taken on a life of its own. Planted only in April in order to catch the spring showers, which didn’t come, it has been lovingly watered by the wonderful Carmel who works in the British Heart Foundation shop. She has the enviable ability of involving the whole world in the watering. Thus, the neighbours, the minister one side and the man in the tall house the other side, have been filling watering cans and barrels.

Helen and Eileen who work at the clinic have been doing their bit, as well as a neighbour in Church Path. This really has turned out to be a community garden with us, the Wanstead Community Gardeners, setting it up and the locals taking over from there. This is exactly as we would like it to be. It makes sense. The garden flourished, and in seemingly no time was awash with colour. This is the only one of our patches which has the luxury of being regularly watered. What a difference that makes!

Right from the beginning this garden seems to have had a life of its own. It wasn’t long before four fairies appeared, plus two frogs and a pair of boots! Two scarecrows arrived on the scene plus a cat missing a hind leg, two rabbits, one without ears, and so it goes on. The latest addition to the menagerie is a meerkat!

This is not our normal style but something else. The children pass by on their way to the Church of England school every day. The mums visit the clinic with their toddlers, as do elderly people coming to have their feet done. Passers-by enjoy this corner of quirkery with its colourful flowers appearing in what was a desolate empty patch and its ever-increasing population of who knows what? It really is a winner and maybe will become as much a Wanstead iconic garden as is the Corner House garden and the fountain beds on George Green.

Now where is the mystery? This concerns the pair of scarecrows. Not only do they move about, sometimes appearing in friendly conflab, at other times back to back, having had a tiff maybe? More mysterious than that is the fact they frequently change their clothes! They have rainwear for inclement weather and quite a wardrobe. Barbie watch out!

All this makes this corner an ongoing delight, full of surprises. Who could have guessed in April that Wanstead would gain such a successful addition to its street patchwork gardens? This one really makes people smile.

For more information on the work of the Wanstead Community Gardeners, email gardeners@wnstd.com or leave a note for them at Wanstead Library.