The planters are spaced along the roads and designed to drain storm water into the ground to prevent flooding and relieve pressure on London’s sewer system, using gravel and larger aggregates from 500mm to 1000mm deep then the next 300mm is finer sandy aggregates with 200mm of sandy topsoil – all designed to filter rainwater, removing heavy contaminants before it gets to the water table. Initially funded by Vauxhall One, Andy worked on a tight budget to create a distinct walk of plants that withstand arid conditions, a wind tunnel and low maintenance. Yuccas, cannas, bananas palms, Cyprus umbrella plants, arum lilies, gingers and Brugmansias are in the scheme . To attract pollinators, flowering sages and osteospurnum were added. An unused carpark became the nursery for propagating plants and composting (including collecting food waste from the neighbouring Ragged Canteen. Leafmould is created by clearing the local streets of leaves in late autumn and winter. Vauxhall One pays for 2 days each week for maintenance. Spring Garden nursery, created on the disused carpark, subsidises my own time and provides more plants to fill in gaps or changing planting.
Andy says “from taking up gardening 5 years ago, it has become my new career and one that has given me so much more in return for health benefits. Vauxhall one took a risk in giving this work to me, a novice gardener, and I know I am blessed to be paid for what many do as volunteers. The most unexpected part of this project has been the amazing response from local people, and many who pass though the area, who comment on the planting. That makes everything I do worth the time iIspend in the gardens.”
Winner of Best Community Gardener and Highly Commended in Against the Odds category, Blooming Lambeth Awards 2019