Guerrilla gardening second wave

Marian Temple writes:

For those not in the know, we have permission from the council to adopt patches in the Wanstead station surround where shrubs have died and sow, plant, weed, whatever is needed to make it a more pleasant/interesting place for commuters to do their commuting. All part of the “Cheer Up Sad Patches of Public Soil” campaign.

News from the front. The seeds sown have determinedly not germinated, no doubt biding their time to surprise us later. Most of the plants we put in are either ok(ish) or thriving. Look for the foxgloves in flower behind the manky litter bin. Now it’s time for a weed massacre.

Thistle Bash and Bindweed Pull. This is what’s lined up for Sunday. Pulling ribbons of bindweed off the shrubs (really therapeutic!) and cutting thistles off at the roots to prevent them flowering and seeding. (What spoilsports we are!) Also a bit of a litter pick. No need to know anything about gardening, kids welcome. Bring gardening gloves, secateurs if you have ‘em, if not, just bring yourselves for a fun morning of destruction in the name of beautifying Wanstead.

Sunday 22nd June 10.30 onwards at Wanstead Station. See you there

Wanstead Station – job done?

The guerrilla in our midst, Marian Temple, writes:

“After four working parties, all those manky bits of sad soil where shrubs had died over time have been tidied up and either planted or sown with wild flower seeds. It was really fun to do and for me to meet people I didn’t know, all of us happy to do our bit for Wanstead which is such a brilliant place to live. The kids were marvellous at raking out bottles and cans and we ended up with sacks of recyclables and stuff for the green collection.

“Keep your eyes open next month for glorious old fashioned scarlet geraniums flowering on the outside patches where the cars turn towards St Mary’s Avenue. Another car patch, where the traffic builds up waiting for the lights, has been planted with teazles and wild flower seeds. That nice little semi shade patch, the last on the right going towards Mansfield Road has been planted with foxgloves and primroses and no doubt I’ll keep planting as I come across excess Corner House stuff that would be happy there.

“Just one small patch remains to be done and that’s being saved for a little girl who didn’t make the work parties but is desperate to make her mark. That bit has her name on and will be done in time.

So what about the future?
“Ah, there’s a question. Maintenance is the name of the game. Hopefully, everybody who took part will keep an eye on the Wanstead Station surrounds having taken a sort of possession of it by their efforts. Maybe every so often, I’ll use Wansteadium to gather forces for a general weed and tidy up as needed.

“Re. the thorny question of litter, (amazing subject, everybody thinks it’s everybody else’s job to deal with it!). The important thing there is to prevent a build-up. Cans and bottles lying around indicate that this is an ok place to drop ‘em. The trick is to get rid of them. It’s no shame, (quite the opposite in fact) to remove rubbish and put it in the bin. An immediate improvement and it gets rid of the subliminal message that this flower bed or bit of pavement is just right for the can I don’t need any more.

“Thanks to all those who took part. A good time had by all. Watch this space for future call ups and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Just hope to goodness that the seeds germinate!”

PS. Wansteadium reader Bente Dahl adds that Wanstead Station is not the only one getting the gardening love.

Guerrilla update

Marian Temple, guerrilla gardener, writes:

Another successful work party at Wanstead Station. Many thanks to the two dads and five children who came along on Sunday all set to make a difference. The dads hacked away while the kids de-manked the bare patches and then chucked wild flower seeds around with gay abandon. The birthday cake was very welcome too, just right for hungry guerrillas. We had fun planting more foxgloves and primroses. Small children have their own style which involves immediately walking over what’s just been planted. Fortunately, our plants are tough.

We probably need just a couple more working parties before we’re at the Pimms and deckchair stage. Unfortunately, I can’t manage any more Sundays. I hope Saturday proves to be an equally family friendly day. Next working party is this Saturday, 3rd May, 10.00ish onwards. All welcome, no experience necessary. Bring any tools you think might be useful and gloves for those so inclined. See you at the station.

The first Sunday in the month is a working party at the Corner House garden. This month it’s Sunday 4th May, 10.30 onwards. On the menu is bluebell bashing, a bit of shifting and planting, and maybe a bit of watering and some sawing. We might even get that lavatory cistern in the front bed planted with the sweet peas that are waiting in the wings. Maybe some useful person could come along and fix a couple of steps in the back garden. The present ones are sloping at a death-defying angle. Good for the adrenaline I suppose but maybe not good for your Wanstead gardeners. All welcome. No experience necessary. Marian.

Wanstead working party: Last chance


Guerrilla gardener Marian Temple writes:

Next work party on Wanstead station surrounds is on Sunday 27 April at 11am. This will probably be the last Sunday session for some time as I’m running out of Sundays but it’s a family friendly day. A lot has been done with just two work party sessions and there’s not a lot more to do. Three more patches need the weeds pulled out and after that, it’s just a matter of chucking wild flower seeds around. Yippee! I want to plant more foxgloves and primroses in some shady patches and would love someone to saw up a branch of buddleia which has fallen down. If you fancy doing a bit for Wanstead and putting your mark on a sad patch of earth to make it something that gives pleasure, do join us if you can. Those that came really enjoyed themselves. Sometimes, little things can be so satisfying. No experience necessary. Bring gardening gloves if you have ‘em and any tools that might be useful. Children really welcome. See ya Sunday. Marian Temple.

Wanstead station gardening update

Marian Temple, guerrilla gardener, who invited Wansteadium readers to join her in sorting out the garden areas around Wanstead Station last Sunday morning, writes:

Obviously this was the place to see and be seen. Unfortunately, quite a few people were going off to see a crowd of people running 26 miles. Not a brilliant piece of organisation on the part of M. Temple! However – five of us met at the station for a “clean up sad patches of soil” session.

Amazing how much we got done. Masses of weeding, and it’s the right time to do it as the weeds are not yet at the point where they shed seeds as you yank ‘em out. Masses of litter removing, a whole green bag full of recyclables. Station staff happy to fill our watering can. Geraniums planted on the outer patches where they should delight Wansteadians later on in the season and bits of other plantery happened.

We need another session to clean up – maybe three more patches and start a bit of serious planting. Also, I’ve got loads of wild flower seeds which can be scattered around. Suggest this Sunday 20th 11.00 at the station. Hopefully, nobody will be running 26miles but I expect there’ll be some other unmissable event to give us competition. Never mind. All welcome, kids especially. No gardening experience at all necessary but might be useful to bring any garden tools and gloves if you have ‘em.

See you at the station. Marian Temple.

UPDATE: Ouf! I see that the 20th is actually Easter Sunday. Why do these events keep getting in the way of serious Wanstead plantery? Nevertheless, we’ll stick to this date and hope that a few people can come along. My thinking is that the weekend is the best time for many people but at this time of year, it’s wise to get rid of weeds as soon as poss. Another week of glorious sunshine and they’ll be joyously shedding seeds as we pull them out. I expect there will be another session after this one so watch this space.

A garden for Raymond Blanc

Kathy Taylor imageCongratulations to Wanstead garden designer Kathy Taylor, who is down to the final four in a competition to create a new garden for Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant. Her design, called The Bean There garden, is in the shape of a runner bean. Judging for the final winner takes place next month.