December 2016: Notes from the garden shed

Looking back over 2016 I suppose what sticks in my mind almost more than the ups and downs of gardening are the wonderful people I work with or have met – here are a few of their voices.


Robyn Riddoch - community gardener

This has been my first summer working at the Skip Garden and it has been an absolute joy. My highlight so far has been our fortnightly Twilight gardening sessions with our volunteers. They are an incredible help and its lovely to be able to chat to all the people that come around over dinner. We also grew some amazing sweet potatoes for the first time; I’m very much looking forward to trying them.

Emma Trueman - gardener

The skip garden has flourished this year. We harvested an abundance of fruit and veggies for pizzas in the summer - and I learnt that you can eat squash flowers, which were wonderfully overflowing on the Broadgate beds, making great pizza toppings! We had a first ever crop of Sweet Potatoes in this new site, I had no idea such beauties would be growing underneath the soil, now we await for them to cure before the chefs turn them into lunch! 

Paul Bown - GoodGym trainer

My name is Paul Bown and I am the trainer for GoodGym Camden, we are a running group that also volunteers on our weekly runs throughout Camden. At least once a month we come and help the amazing Skip Garden; whether it’s turning the ridden, laying gravel or piling logs. This fantastic organisation really opens the eyes of both regulars and newbies, how they use this ever-changing space for good in a community full of offices and glass is immense. We are very proud to support them and hope to come and help them for years to come. 

Jose Valcarcel - Royal Holloway University

Students of department of Royal Holloway visited the Skip garden in March 2016. They built on previous experiments about the distribution and pathways of heavy metals in the horticultural garden environment. This year, they took samples of Thyme, Rosemary and other herbs as well collecting atmospheric particular matter. The results reinforced the previous hypothesis of atmospheric deposition of particular matter on plants. They were delighted of the warm reception and help by the Skip garden team. And the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway looks forward to completing a more extensive research in the coming year.

Zak Sharif Nur (aka Zak) - ex youth Generator and now project leader.

Despite a gloomy 2016, working at the skip garden made it a good year. I've witnessed the magic that happens for many years but when given the opportunity to lead my own project it helped me truly understand what it means to bring people together, the impact it has especially now where we need to get to know one another even more.

Libby Page - Twilighter

For me, discovering the Skip Garden has been one of the best parts of 2016. Throughout the spring, summer and autumn, Twilight Gardening was the favourite part of my fortnight. As a novice gardener, it was an opportunity to learn so much, and also to appreciate the changing of the seasons. I met so many interesting people. Coming together to get our hands dirty in the garden was like fuel for my soul. I feel so thankful to everyone at the Skip Garden for the opportunity to volunteer – I hope we contributed to the garden because I know that what I took away from it was huge. It lifted my spirits every fortnight and sparked a love of gardening in me that I hope is something I will take with me throughout life.

Des Smith - Head Gardener for Willerby Landscapes.

Whilst based at King's Cross the Willerby Gardens team have shared our working environment with the guys and girls at the Skip Garden. It is always good to have an interaction with likeminded people where we can have an interchange of views, have a chuckle at the wonderful world we live in and share knowledge gained from working in horticulture. The Skip Garden and Willerby’s do things differently but the techniques and our raw materials stay the same, it has been a successful partnership thus far and I hope it will continue to be so.

Julia – visitor

This year we have visited the skip garden on a few occasions, as always it is a delight, the staff are friendly and helpful, catering lovely and novel. We will return next year and look forward to experience any new developments.


John Day - Volunteer

Here's s few highlights. 1.  Painting the insides of olive oil cans (lesson learnt: it's a good idea to stir the paint before application ) 2. Ongoing battle with the badly behaved compost maker 3. Picking out seeds and putting into cute little packets with disaffected teenagers 4. Moving "temporary" buildings round the site like a giant game of musical chairs. 5. Serious: getting a great insight into the world of organic gardening.

Karen Mak - volunteer

It has been a pleasure working for the Gardening Team at the Skip Garden.  Lovely community atmospheres where every one of all ages and backgrounds muck in and are happy to share their knowledge and experience.  I have learned so much and realise there is still so much more to discover.

Ylva Fahlén – Horticultural student from Hermods Higher Vocational Education collage in Stockholm, Sweden.

Skip Garden is the perfect place to gain experience and make new friends! My 4-week internship was a very happy time, I instantly felt welcome and I had a lot of fun working with the garden team. The work we did was varied and I felt very included and I often got the chance to exchange knowledge with the team. Skip Garden is a place where I feel I could go to whenever I’m in London.  

Haleluya Debebe-Dessalegne – Garden Intern

I was incredibly exited to join the skip garden this June; my expectations have been exceeded! I've found a new family, a new home in London. Here I've learnt an incredible amount being part of the garden team and cemented my love for organic, community gardening. From fixing a wheelbarrow on my first day, twilight gardening, to loving the Ridan composter like a pet. Coming to the garden has been the highlight of my week, and I want to thank all of the GG team for taking me under their wing.

Finally I’d like to applaud our production gardener Julie Riehl who’s too modest to mention her designs for Rotunda at King’s Place that won Islington’s Best Blooming pub award 2016.

Seasonal Greetings to you all!