Growing a new garden, growing a new community

At the heart of the Skip Garden is a growing local community of young people, residents, corporate partners and wanderers. This year Global Generation secured funding from the People’s Postcode which supports groups and organisations like ourselves to engage further with the people within our community and reach out to some who aren’t. We have run a series of workshops and events so far this year that warrant a mention, along with a thank you to People’s Postcode for enabling us to do so.

The ‘Of Soil and Water’ workshops started us off in March of this year. Collaborating with the architects and artists of the Kings Cross Swimming Pond, we ran two workshops during the half term with a focus on the importance of water systems and plants. Paul Richens, our natural history extraordinaire, delighted adults and children alike with his game, which tested everybody’s knowledge of water plant adaptations and zonation. Many of the younger children went very enthusiastically at the glitter when recreating their own versions of the water cycle and seed bombs were moulded and pocketed, ready to inoculate a manicured lawn with wildflower. In the process, all 4500 plug plants, collected from the wild or grown from seed, were planted around the banks of the Swimming Pond and large channels were seeded. Now that the banks are in full (and overwhelmingly colourful) bloom we can sit back and enjoy the reward!

By May, the BIG-GARDEN-MOVE was in full swing and we began to welcome volunteers to help us deconstruct and reconstruct huge parts of the Skip Garden old and new. Over a series of two days and two evening sessions, we were able to disassemble our Yurt (which, for a number of weeks, was living right in the centre of the garden when the boundary fence had been squeezed right up to our office!), bed down the worms in the Green Engine, move all the Skips and ground planters (with the assistance of our friends at Kier and their very agile vehicles), pack up the kitchen, classroom, office and tool shed and unload everything on the new site. Once at the new site the construction could begin….

With endless help from volunteers and even a visiting group of Year 5 students from a local primary school, the rammed-clay wall that supports our new 12 metre poly-tunnel has grown taller day by day; the green house windows were lovingly putty-ed and painted; coffee sacks were cut and sewn by hand and machine; filled with compost and sowed with seeds; children filled huge tanks with plants to recycle our waste water and our kitchen has grown into a thriving community café.  

Most recently, we hosted events for World Environment Day and The Big Lunch. On the 5th of June we celebrated with the Kings Cross community by opening up the garden for guided tours of the site which highlighted the importance of growing food in the city and reusing many materials that would otherwise have gone to waste on the construction sites across Kings Cross. On the 7th, we set up on the lawns of the nearby Lewis Cubitt Park to celebrate The Big Lunch with our resident and corporate neighbours. Our café team prepared cakes and refreshments while those joining us brought something to share. We were abundant with food, embraced skill sharing and even got ourselves some free henna tattoos.

Thanks to these projects we have met and connected with many new families and members of the local community. The curiosity of many has been indulged by opening the garden and café and now we look forward to the coming months of welcoming faces, familiar and unfamiliar, into our new home.