CHARLTON COMMUNITY GARDENS

ANNUAL REPORT  2017 – 2018

Charlton Community Gardens has continued to thrive.  Our local events have attracted neighbours from SE7 and beyond.  We have begun to develop the community orchard in Charlton Park, working with new colleagues.  Our plant sale was again very successful as were the results from the RHS competitions.

The station garden has remained the focus of our work.  For the fourth year running this garden was judged “Outstanding” by the RHS In Your Neighbourhood scheme.   Theey said  “An excellent example of what can be done in a small and relatively confined space by a passionate group of people! Clearly the family-oriented gardening and engagement events are proving a continuing success, and the links with Charlton Park Academy are proving productive and sustainable.”

In the London in Bloom category, we again achieved a Gold rating from the RHS. 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

— most of the local businesses sponsoring the raised beds have stuck with us

–the Council asked that our community garden feature in their borough entry to London in Bloom awards

We continued to support the Purple for Polio campaign, with more planting at the Fairfield Health Centre and at local schools, all helping to publicise the vaccination programme and enabling local people to tell of their experience with polio.

The continuing heat of the past summer has posed problems for the garden and we are especially  grateful to Felicity for arranging for the Fire Brigade to fill our water butt, making the task somewhat easier for the essential work of the volunteer waterers.  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 see one of the beds planted up as a memorial garden.  With the help of Green Gym we look to etablish another wicking bed at the station garden.  Work on the community orchard in Charlton Park will continue as we consider how to invest the kind donation from Martina’s father towards replacement trees.  We echo his sentiments:  don’t let the vandals win.  We are supporting Charlton Society in their project of Greening the Village.

None of this would be happening were it not for the generous contributions our volunteers make.  We would particularly like to thank our watering volunteers, both here at the station and at the community orchard.  Each of our Management Committee members bring their special skills to the project too– people skills and horticultural skills.  You will find them taking pictures and updating our website, liaising with other community agencies, organising new projects for each of the Family Learning sessions during midterm break, bringing new ideas to  each year’s planting plan, hustling local businesses to sponsor a raised bed, growing seeds and cuttings for the plant sale,  and keeping track of the money. 

Can we again encourage local people to harvest the produce of the station garden?  We plan to make signs saying “Pick Me” that can be moved amongst the beds.  Whilst we started as a demonstration garden, showing what can be grown in a small space, we have become a productive garden, available to neighbours who might not have space to garden at home. Our motto remains “to promote sustainable organic gardening”.

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

7 October 2018