Clive Meredeen wants to help local people get gardening
I’m a local professional gardener and garden designer and in late 2017 I got involved with a group called Forest Flora.
Like many others in my profession I was excited by the idea of adding some horticulture to the London Borough of Culture celebrations last year. People interested in gardening from all over the borough got involved and we bid for funding to stage events. Although we didn’t win, we decided to become a not-for-profit community interest company to enable us to pursue our aims.
We want to become the horticultural hub for Waltham Forest, encouraging local residents to transform under-utilised or unloved areas to create social growing spaces. We also want to raise the profile of horticulture as a skilled career, promoting volunteering opportunities and collaborating with local artists and craftspeople to stage events.
We already have a website, forestflora.co.uk, with lots of articles and volunteering opportunities regularly updated. We are now busy planning activities for 2020 including plant sales, a fundraising art auction, makeovers for pockets of unloved public land, gardening workshops and a garden trail to promote the many community and private gardens throughout the borough, similar to the brilliant E17 Art Trail. We’ll be publishing details of events and volunteering opportunities on the website so keep checking back.
We also want to encourage sustainable and environmentally-responsible gardening and we encourage local residents to reduce their use of plastic, pesticides, peat-based composts and materials that have a high carbon footprint or are derived from fossil fuels.
People are getting involved with Forest Flora for many reasons. Some want to be more active for their health and wellbeing, some enjoy the social element of meeting up with a regular group of like-minded gardeners, others want to help improve the appearance of their neighbourhood, are worried about the loss of habitats for bees and other pollinating insects, or would like to learn to grow their own food.
Joining a local community gardening group is a great way to enjoy plants if you live in a flat and don’t have your own garden. If you are worried about the climate emergency but feel powerless to do anything to help, gardening is a great way to make a difference locally.
Whatever your reason, we’d love to hear from you!