In addition to the existing gardens which Abundance volunteers continue to maintain we were able to create several new gardens:
Alison’s Wood, a woodland area in Acton Common, was substantially completed, in partnership with Ealing Council and Alison Wood’s family. This includes around thirty new trees, shrubs, woodland flowers, a range of hibernacula (winter hiding places for wildlife), spring bulbs, two benches, and a plaque in Alison’s memory. Special birdboxes are on their way. This woodland area will be maintained by Ealing parks department, with Alison’s family.
Beaconsfield Gardens is an exciting new space (for us) on Acton Lane, behind the petrol station, which has yet to show signs of the huge amount of very challenging work that went into it in October and November, led by Jen Thorndycraft. 6,000 spring bulbs were planted into what turned out to be a vile rubble-field. Dead saplings were removed and new trees planted. A gap in the fence (the Evans Gap, in honour of the bulb funder!) was opened at each end to allow easy pedestrian access, and the central fence gap repaired. The grass is to be left to grow long, with a gentle path mown through the meadow. There are plans for wildflower plants to be added. As soon as the weather is dry for more than half an hour the low fence will be painted. A new local group has been set up to look after the area. If you would like to join the WhatsApp group (first job, fence painting), send in your phone number.
Oliver Close off Thames Road is another new garden that has yet to reveal its new colours. Residents cleared tonnes of gravel, old membrane and weeds to create two new beds on either side of their road entrance. Abundance supplied plants and funding, and we look forward to seeing the garden begin to bloom in 2023.
A4 junction Methodist Church bed. A Duke of Edinburgh student, Isaac (with help from his father), created a lovely dry wall bed along the outside of the church. This involved surprisingly challenging work to dig out the rubble, but has been an outstanding success with the student continuing to water through the draught.
Cherrygate, the ludicrous ‘battle’ over trees in Turnham Green, was finally resolved – two years late – with the planting up of the gaps in the cherry tree avenue. Abundance volunteers helped the Friends of TG to plant thousands of spring bulbs on the Green, as part of Tom Stuart-Smith’s designs to improve the biodiversity and beauty of the Green. We look forward to seeing this space flourish under a reinvigorated Friends’ group.
Gardeners World on BBC TV
We were delighted to welcome the BBC’s flagship television gardening programme to film a selection of our gardens in June and help promote the idea of creating pocket gardens elsewhere. They looked mainly at our Turnham Green Terrace perennial bed, the woodland corner on the A4, the Tarmac Garden on Fauconberg Road, the Bridge Garden on Sutton Court Road, and the A4 church bed, and were very appreciative of our volunteers’ efforts in very challenging situations. You can still catch it on i-player if you missed it. Episode 13, about 38 minutes in. Karen also got a big profile in Gardens Illustrated magazine, mainly based on her Abundance work.
Abundance gave financial grants to Southfields School and East Acton Primary School to create wildlife and veg gardens in their school grounds. We were also able to fund several new gardens, detailed above. And of course pay for ongoing insurance, equipment, plants, trees, etc.
This progressed seamlessly with a new WhatsApp group under the leadership of Laurence Game. We harvested tonnes of fruit and although we were no longer able to work with local schools as in the past (the season has become much earlier over the past decade meaning schools are on holiday for most of the harvest time) we held another very successful fruit pressing at the September Flower Market, offering gallons of free apple juice to passersby. We also donated lots of surplus fruit to local food banks, care homes and refugee organisations.
The W4th Plinth was opened for new submissions. This is the large changing artwork on the railway embankment above the Turnham Green Terrace piazza area. Hundreds of applications have been received and judging is about to start.
We were able to keep the Butterfly Wall in place on the ex-Police Station for nearly a whole year. This had been our aim when we installed it in October 2021, but the Met Police HQ asked us to remove it after barely a fortnight. We stuck to our guns, and the new owners of the building, Birchgrove, kindly let us leave it in place until September 2022. Most of the butterflies were then returned to their creators via the local schools, and a Lucky Dip sale of others provided some additional funds for Abundance. A few hundred have been retained and will go up as part of a new mural in Harvard Hill Park in 2023.
Most of the Chiswick schools participated in a competition run by Make+Paint with Abundance support and Hounslow Council’s Summer of Culture funding to create Platinum Jubilee posters based around the Queen’s head stamp to decorate the High Road shops for the Jubilee weekend. The best entrants won funding for their schools art department to encourage more art and creativity.
So a busy year all round. We look forward to more fun stuff in 2023, kicking off with the W4th Plinth shortlisting and a bit of tree planting…