Marian Temple, Wanstead’s celebrated guerrilla gardener, has a new venture: to do for the areas around Wanstead station what she and friends have already done for the Corner House. And she needs some help, this Sunday. She writes:
Iâ€™d have thought by now that I would have taken over just about every patch of sad public soil in Wanstead and turned it into a pocket patchwork piece with good tempered old fashioned plants. Not so.
The more you look, the more you see. I suddenly realised that the planting around Wanstead Station is full of holes. Evergreen shrubs, theyâ€™re fine but where odd ones have died, there are unloved, sad, bald patches. Time for the Wanstead green fingered flying squad to scramble. Last week, we met the Redbridge person responsible for street flower beds. We looked at the bald patches and he seemed to think it wouldnâ€™t be a bad idea if locals took over. We have a good track record in Wanstead. So, I have ensured that any patch adopted and planted will not be a victim of the Redbridge squirt regime. (Very disheartening to have ones efforts splatted by weed killer.)
There are about nine empty patches that could look so much better with a bit of imaginative plantery. My High Street planting over the last 10 years has given me a very good idea of what survives. Plants must be tough, not need watering and not be fast food for slugs. The Wanstead Station patches would look good with the sort of plants growing in the Corner House Garden (can use that as a source). Wild flowers would be fine and a couple of patches tucked away from passers by would look brilliant with zonking great scarlet geraniums. I can supply all these plants. If you like the idea of taking over a sad patch and transforming it into something which people will enjoy seeing every day, hereâ€™s your chance.
Iâ€™ll be at Wanstead Station this Sunday, (13 April) 11.00 onwards. Iâ€™ll be working on the first patch, derubbishifying it, weeding and maybe adding a bit of leafmould to prepare for the foxgloves and primroses which would be very happy there. Just turn up. Bring a garden fork or any other useful garden tools you might have. Gardening experience not necessary. Kids welcome. This might just be the start of something good.
Iâ€™m finishing with a bad joke. â€œWhat do Marian Temple and Vladimir Putin have in common?â€ Itâ€™s not obvious. The answer… â€œunbridled expansionismâ€. Not sure really if the Wanstead Station surrounds can be compared to Crimea but youâ€™ve got to start somewhere.