ANNUAL REPORT  2016 – 2017

Charlton Community Gardens has continued to thrive.  Our local events have attracted neighbours from SE7 and beyond.  Our sponsors have stuck with us and our bank balance is healthy. We have joined with new partners to plan for the development of new gardening projects.   

The station garden has remained the focus of our work.  For the third year running this garden was judged “Outstanding” by the RHS In Your Neighbourhood scheme.  The judges particularly commended our Family Learning events and work with other community groups around the Purple for Polio scheme.

In the London in Bloom category, we again achieved a Gold rating from the RHS, this year being tied for top scheme in London.  We were  awarded our own plaque as well as a certificate. Both of the RHS schemes take account not only of our Gardening Achievement but also Community Participation and Environmental Responsibility.   Here the judges were particularly appreciative of our wider community involvement—liaising with Charlton Park Academy over the development of Bed 5 at the station garden, coming to an agreement with the Council over the establishment of a community orchard in Charlton Park and our presentation to Charlton Society and participation in Gardeners’ Question Time.    

Let us also celebrate what we mean to local people. 

–the parents who come to our Family Learning events have said  how much they like to see children involved in growing

–customers at the plant sale tell how the garden lifts their spirits as they start and finish their daily commute

–and our local businesses sponsoring the raised beds have stuck with us

We continue to reflect on how the garden can be improved.  This year with the help of the Good Gym runners, we have experimented with a wicking bed system for better root watering of one of the raised beds.  We have pruned and fed and weeded and watered—to produce some reasonable crops everywhere.  In our open access garden, these crops are available for the taking—and we are sometimes surprised to see fruit wither on the vine, unpicked.

We joined the Purple for Polio campaign, partnering with the Fairfield Health Centre to plant up their walkway and publicise the vaccination programme.

It’s been a bad year for thefts.  We have lost both the bug houses mounted on the back wall and one of the water butts.  We thank Brenntag for giving us our enormous water container to catch the bikeshed run-off rainwater.  We will continue to rely on local people to be the eyes and ears of the community garden watch.

In the coming year we will be developing the station garden to its full potential, with the planting of Bed 5.  And we will have a major push to establish a community orchard in Charlton Park.  The first area near the Old Cottage Café will be planted with apple, plum, quince and fig trees on 11 November. And the second area down by the children’s playground will be planted in spring. 

None of this would be happening were it not for the generous contributions our volunteers make:  our Management Committee members who take the pictures that brighten our website, and come up with ideas for educative play for children during midterm break, who patrol the garden as part of a daily routine or come each week to water the raised beds.  And again, a special tribute to the watering volunteers and to the person who brings in the new recruits.

We thank all the folks who have given so generously of their time and their expertise to make Charlton Community Gardens the success it is. 

Jane Bennett and Judy Wolfram

Co-chairs of the Management Committee

1 October 2017