Growing a garden together

As our Saxon Court community gardening project is coming to an end this week , we thought we would update you on how things have gone at the garden. Saxon Court is a mixed residential block in King’s Cross that includes supported housing and shared ownership housing. Way back at the beginning of the year, we received a grant from People’s Postcode Lottery to run weekly gardening sessions from May - October, in order to train local residents in wildlife and vegetable growing and garden maintenance skills and to create a beautiful space for them to spend time together as a community.

We began back in mid-May with a very shady garden, lots of ferns and a solitary apple tree. My colleague Emma started off the first session as an ‘imagination session’, encouraging the children (and adults) to imagine what their garden might look like. The children did some drawings inspired by artists' representations of the garden while the whole group discussed what they would like to see growing in their garden.

Over the next weeks, we began on improving the conditions of the garden. As the soil level was quite low in some places, we filled up the beds to give more space for roots of anything we might put in. We dug in beautifully dark and crumbly compost in order to improve the soil quality and give our plants some extra nutrition to help them grow.

A shady garden is always a challenge for any experienced gardener. We chose an area that was partially sunny and not completely shaded for our vegetable patch. We planted things that will grow well, such as leafy greens and salads as well as some tomatoes and even cucumbers for the sunnier patches.

We also have begun a flower meadow for bees and pollinators and an edible fruit forest for us and the birds. We’ve put up bird feeders to keep our local birds well fed throughout the lean winter months and have built an amazing bug hotel that will house all manner of critters that are beneficial to keeping our garden ecosystem balanced and healthy.

We have spent the last few weeks planning together the kind of work that needs doing in winter and into next spring to make sure the garden stays bountiful and beautiful. We are planning a Harvest Festival to mark the end of the scheme and celebrate all our achievements in the garden. We wish the Saxon Court gardeners the best of luck!