Art and gardening rescue local land
Left to fall into dereliction, a small patch of land in the suburb of St Ann’s in Nottingham had become a hotspot for flytipping and drug use. Spurred into action, neighbours got together to tackle the eye-sore.
Local voluntary art and gardening group, St Ann’s Projects, set out to renovate the space with fruit trees, edible plants and wild flowers, and art created by the community.
“We’re working with children at a local school,” explains group co-founder Martin Sommerville. “The Eco Team are designing posters asking people to walk their dogs responsibly and look after the area. Once we’ve got a name agreed for the land we’ll create a mosaic sign too.”
Martin and partner Carly Williams, both community artists by profession, first attracted the attention of their neighbours in 2010 when they began mosaicking their doorstep. “Loads of people stopped to chat,” explains Martin. “After that we began making posters to give away spare plants to local people. We’d talk about the state of the area. There were lots of bits of land around that seemed uncared for. Everyone could see so much potential in them.” Today the group’s monthly gatherings attract up to 70 people each time who come along to learn new skills and get involved with the gardening. Many just enjoy the chance to catch up on gossip, admits Martin, who’s thrilled with the newfound sense of community.
“Neighbours and passersby of every age are getting involved, making films, baking, building bird boxes, mosaicking and drawing. There are lots of young people keen to join in too.” He continues, “Spending time together gardening and making art helps people to take a stake in the area, to care more about it in the future. It’s a way to build
Sophie Dawson, Editor of RHS quarterly magazine Growing Communities.
We illustrated the cover of this edition! Check it out, along with previous magazines, on the RHS site, or on our blog here .