Saving an old bit of Wanstead with a spade

Primroses which are now flowering along the edge of Christ Church Green might, to close observers, seem to be newly planted. The plants themselves, though, and their ancestors have been flowering in Wanstead for at least 100 years.

Wanstead’s guerrilla gardener Marian Temple takes up the story. “The primroses were due to be made homeless. They’ve been flowering profusely for about the last 100 years, obviously in what was part of an old garden but is now the grounds of the scout hut at the very end of the high street Snaresbrook.

0.Marian Temple- Gardener“The hut is about to be demolished so a new one can be built. Primroses and building sites don’t go together very well so chances of survival – zilch. Operation “Save the Primroses” swung into action and that explains the appearance of these lovely plants in Tarzy Wood, the Wanstead Station patches, the Manor House street flower beds, Corner House Garden and of course Wanstead Place.

“Hopefully, we’ll manage to transplant the lot and at some time when the rebuilding is finished to replant a stock back in their original old garden place. In the meantime, Wanstead is primrosed up to the eyeballs. Enjoy.”

• That’s not the only guerrilla activity to report. She adds: “You may have noticed the Wanstead Station surrounds looking a lot more interesting than this time last year. That’s because the manky bare litter strewn patches have been sucked into the Wanstead mania for cheering up sad pieces of public soil.

“Since April last year, locals including families with young kids have been meeting every so often on Sundays and really taking over these sad patches. First on the agenda is a de-manking session, bits of chewing gum, dog ends, cans, bottles and the odd bolt cutter removed. Flower shop Daisy has been mega generous in donating their “past sell-by date” plants. All planted and flowering their petalled heads off as you read. Loads of stuff from our own gardens too nicely settled in their new public patches.

“What a difference! We call ourselves the Wanstead Community Gardeners but it’s a very loose amalgam of locals who really enjoy making a difference. Want to join in the fun??? No gardening experience needed. Just get in contact with me, Marian Temple via Wansteadium (marian@wansteadium.com) and I will add your details to the email network.

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