25 May 2011

in the garden, may 2011

a ripe strawberry

pea pods are starting to form

the bug hotel is under way

a beautiful veg growing space

pansies, beans and tomatoes

peas growing in reclaimed cooking oil container

red and green salad leaves, and some spring onion seedlings

21 May 2011

Sunday Grow Club, 22nd May 2011

The Greening Brownfield community garden is open to the public on Sunday afternoon between 2-4pm. Feel free to drop in, take a tour and find out how to get involved. We're on the old tennis court near Carradale House, on Andrew Street, off 88 St Leonard's Road, Poplar, E14 0SW.

19 May 2011

Greening Brownfield on Facebook

Greening Brownfield on Facebook
 If you like Facebook, you might want to check out our Facebook page. Click 'Like' to keep up-to-date with the latest news, updates, events and images from the community garden.

14 May 2011

Sunday Grow Club, 15th May 2011

It's Sunday Grow Club tomorrow, which means the Greening Brownfield community garden is open to all residents of the Brownfield Estate between 2-4pm. Drop by, take a tour, find out how to join or just come and hang out. We'll be making bunting and banners to decorate the garden for the Big Lunch, so feel free to get stuck in.

Click here for more info about Sunday Grow Club

9 May 2011

greening brownfield - a short history (part 2)

Part 2: 2010

In early 2010, Greening Brownfield started planning new estate-improving activities. Jennifer and Eleanor, two members of the Balfron and Carradale Residents’ Committee, persuaded HARCA to invest in brightening up the empty, grey space – once a children’s playground and a nursery school garden – in front of Balfron Tower.

Jennifer and Eleanor with the new raised beds
Estate residents enjoying some tea and cake
Party-goers enjoyed tea and cake while getting to know their neighbours. Residents planted wild flowers and spring bulbs in the raised beds, while children entered a ‘tallest sunflower’ competition and made chalk drawings on the paving stones.

Making chalk drawings on the flagstones
Meanwhile, plans were afoot for the transformation of the tennis court – the area which would eventually become the community garden. Jennifer and Eleanor put posters up around the estate to drum up new recruits for Greening Brownfield, and started holding monthly planning meetings. Along with a hardy team of volunteers, they cleared the tennis court of the weeds, brambles and broken glass which had made the space their home.

Clearing the weeds from the disused tennis court
Shifting 12 tonnes of soil from the pavement
Freecycle was scoured for wooden pallets, discarded tyres and unwanted play equipment, while the London Borough of Tower Hamlets donated 12 and a half tonnes of compost (formerly Tower Hamlets residents’ kitchen scraps!) And from these humble components, in the late summer of 2010, Greening Brownfield began to fashion a garden.

The very first flower to blossom in the garden
They piled tyres on top of each other and filled them with soil. They placed builders’ bags of soil on top of pallets and planted them up with whatever they could get their hands on: cabbages, courgettes, cucumbers, squash, broccoli and lots and lots and lots of kale. Best of all, this DIY approach garnered plaudits in the form of a prize in the Edible Estates competition, as runner-up in the ‘Create and Craft’ category.

        The tyre and pallet garden, as seen in EastEnd Life
By the end of 2010, residents from Balfron Tower, Carradale House, Glenkerry House and other areas of the Brownfield Estate were attending the monthly planning meetings, all with different skills to bring to the project.

Pallets, tyre and planters: the garden takes shape
The hotch-potch of tyres and bag gardens were slowly replaced by beautifully crafted planters created from the Freecycled wooden pallets. And with funding in place from Grow Your Own Tower Hamlets and Capital Growth, 2011 began to look like it might be a very good year for Greening Brownfield...

[This post is part of Metamorphosis Monday. Check back next week for Part Three!)

8 May 2011

sunday grow club, 8th may 2011

The Greening Brownfield community garden is open to the public this afternoon between 2-4pm. Feel free to drop in, take a tour and find out how to get involved. We're on the old tennis court near Carradale House, on Andrew Street, off 88 St Leonard's Road, Poplar, E14 0SW.

2 May 2011

greening brownfield: a short history

Part 1: 2009

Affordable live / work space in the East End of London. It's a siren call few artists can resist, even if said space is located in a high-rise tower block in deepest Poplar, far from the creative hubs of Shoreditch, Hackney or Dalston.

Thanks to a pioneering scheme started in 2009 by Bow Arts Trust and Poplar Harca, the vacant flats of Balfron Tower and Carradale House were let to local artists and creative practitioners, on the condition that they made a sustained contribution to the communities of the estate.

When artists Anna Sexton and Anna Bauer moved in, they saw an opportunity for a project that would make a big difference to residents' lives. Brown by name and grey by nature, the Brownfield Estate had seen its green spaces neglected and its play areas torn up.

Paddling pool and slide, former playground, Balfron Tower
The brutalist playground at the base of Balfron Tower - an integral part of Goldfinger's initial design, featuring play towers, a slide, a sandpit and a paddling pool - was emptied and left to crumble, unloved save for the odd graffitied tag.

The former nursery school and its garden
The nursery school and its garden were closed down. The residents' tennis court was locked and left to the weeds.

Delapidated tennis court
The two Annas, working with members of the Balfron and Carradale Residents' Committee, decided to see if the old tennis court could be reclaimed and reused as a vegetable growing space for the local community.

Face-painting at 'How Does Your Garden Grow', 1st August 2009
In the summer of 2009 they threw a party, called 'How Does Your Garden Grow', to help plan the revitalisation of the tennis court.

Leaves from the wishing tree, 'How Does Your Garden Grow?', 1st August 2009
The artists canvassed residents' opinions and laid tentative plans. The metamorphosis was about to begin...

(this post is part of metamorphosis monday - check back for part two next week)