Hi Sylvie, it was great to meet you last week and have a tour of your garden. (watch the virtual tour here). Could you let us know a little more here please?
How many people are involved with the garden?
We have 25 members but volunteers come when they want, so it is quite irregular; it could be in winter time: 4 volunteers, but some weeks ago we had 20 volunteers turn up, so we have to adapt. We are all volunteers, no one is paid to work in the garden
Wow – 20 people all at once must have been challenging! Could you remind us when you are open for volunteers please?
Every Saturday – 11am – 2pm
What are your greatest challenges?
On two occasions, we have felt out of our depth, when working with people who suffer from serious mental health. We want to support everybody and we know that the benefit of gardening is very powerful to help in moments of distress, but we also have to protect everyone. It is a fine balance but generally, it works very well.
That’s so true – we all know the value of getting into the garden but keeping everyone safe must be a priority too..
What do you consider to be your greatest successes?
I think our greatest success is that after years working in the community garden, all the park has changed; more people are using it and respect it too. When we first gardened here, we used to find a lot of needles, dog poo … it is now very rare. And people love to walk in the Larks garden and involve their children. We feel people are talking more and we feel more connected to the local community. And of course, we have seen the beautiful plants growing from the hard work all the volunteers put in.
That’s such a great achievement!
And finally, what would you like help with (from IEL and/or its members?)
We always need soil and manure, and trees and plant donations. And we would like to be connected with our local doctor’s surgery.
We would also love to know more about the plants we already grow and what are their (medicinal) benefits. And what other plants that we could grow safely to help certain conditions…
I think there’s an opportunity for an event here (maybe online for now!) – talking about the medicinal qualities of the plants we grow..great idea Sylvie! Thanks for sharing with us – you have worked miracles here.
FIND OUT MORE about the Larks by going here