Save the Date – Saturday 13th January
On Saturday 13th January we will be unveiling the new W4th Plinth at 11am, and running a special free workshop (from 11.30am) to make birdboxes and batboxes to help our wildlife. Full details in the New Year, but mark your diaries now.
Summary of 2023
2023 was a gentle year for us. Thanks to a few lovely people who give us direct debits every month, and a few additional generous donations we were able to fund many thousands of bulbs for planting around Chiswick, as well as supporting some other projects with small grants, and continue organising events such as the W4th Plinth art project and the fruit picking (and pressing) throughout Chiswick and Ealing. Our volunteers continue to maintain around 15 pocket parks in Chiswick. Our national profile grew as we featured on television, in gardening magazines, at the party conferences and at conferences on urban greening. Here’s a little summary of the year, kicking off with potentially bad news (sorry!).
December – ominous news
At the end of 2022 we planted 6,000 early spring bulbs in Beaconsfield Gardens (along Acton Lane). This year we painted the fence, opened up a lovely winding path, planted some new trees (removed some dead ones) and this autumn we planted a load of later flowering bulbs to extend the flowering pollinator meadow theme into early summer.
Unfortunately 2023 ended with the annoying news that Ealing Council had apparently agreed the installation of a fugly 18metre high telecoms tower and service building. While we all want good mobile coverage, precious green space should not be the default option. We have yet to hear official confirmation of this, but the surveyors spraying up the site last week seemed pretty sure it was about to happen.
So we look like getting this kind of thing:
When we thought we would get this:
Watch this space, as we don’t think this is right and hope to convince Ealing to change their mind.
November – bulb heaven
We offered “consultancy services” to Barnet Council (advice, reassurance, budgeting, and actual muddy hands and boots) to help them plant 17,000 bulbs in 4 big bare traffic islands. We hope for a slice of Abundance paradise up there come spring. We also offered advice around the country, eg. Erdington, Kew, Kingston…
We gave a little grant to the Friends of Turnham Green and sent a team of volunteers to help plant 11,000 bulbs on the Green.
A corporate team from Virgin Media (ironically, given December’s news) came to plant summer bulbs and sort out the Wildlife Garden on Devonshire Road.
We had our first ever Abundance volunteer team trip to RHS Library Historic Collections. Let’s do more trips!
October – national policy
We helped (a little) to write Create Streets’ important ‘Greening Up‘ report which provides inspiration, templates and guidance for Urban Greening. It was presented at the two main Party Conferences and we sat on a panel and gave views based on our decade of experience in Chiswick. We also sat on a Green Blue conference panel attended by some 200 Transport Engineers and council officers to talk about the benefits of SUDs (sustainable urban drainage) and planting.
September – flowers and fruit
Our new gardens (the school raised beds in the middle of Acton Green looked after by Chiswick & Bedford School) and Oliver Close (looked after by the residents) matured into beauty, while our older gardens (such as the Turnham Green Terrace bed) continued to delight passersby (they tell us that as we work there!).
Our fruit picking teams again collected tonnes of fruit that would otherwise go to waste, and supplied various food banks. Our fruit press was again in action at the Flower Market, offering gallons of free juice to everyone.
August – greening the centre of Chiswick
Abundance forms part of the Flower Market team pulling together new proposals for the re-design of the tired old car park on the High Road. A Co-Design Initiative ran through July and August inviting suggestions for how to green up the centre of our area. Over 400 comments and suggestions were received. We hope some of them will begin to become reality next year.
July – media spotlight
Horticulture Week profiled our work.
April – art and beauty
Actress Sian Phillips helped us to unveil the new W4th Plinth, Cristina Schek’s Ceiling in the Sky which looked absolutely stunning. We also featured in BBC TV Gardeners’ World Best of… compilation from the previous season. Sam Reynolds won the Abundance London best garden 2023 for his continued work on the flower beds on Wellesley Road which he started for his Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
We wish you all the best for 2024. Here’s hoping for a greener, kinder year.
Karen & the Abundance Team