A few weeks ago we were very excited to
collaborate with Project Dirt in welcoming a group of corporate
volunteers to Winsford Gardens. The lovely staff of Dentsu Aegis came
with great enthusiasm and helped us start our wildlife meadow fence
which we had decided to rebuild in a more sturdy fashion. They also
helped with clearing the wildflower meadow of plant matter in
preparation for the winter and other tasks. Many thanks to Project Dirt
and Denstu Aegis for making the day a great success.
Bromley in Bloom and Penge in Bloom
Thanks to all the hard work of our army of
volunteers we were awarded 3rd place at Bromley in Blooms 'Best
Community Ornamental Project' and 2 awards from Penge in Bloom for 'Most
ecologically friendly garden or plot and 'Most interesting
residential/community area'. Thank you to Alexander Nurseries for the
presentation. Well done everyone!
In Other News
now have all of our urban orchard signs up and the area looks very
smart. We have also splashed out on some rocks to edge the bog garden
with and it now looks well defined and finished. We have also received a
load of soil improver from the council and will be spreading it over
the beds to keep them warm for winter.
is an easy and free way to support the Penge Green Gym. When you buy
items on the internet from well known shops such as John Lewis and
Amazon, you can sign up to Easyfunding and they will donate a percentage
to Penge Green Gym. To sign up, go to
www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/pengegreengym. You can also help
by downloading the easfundraising christmas pack and print of posters
and flyers and add our name.
Penge Green Gym first began working in Winsford Gardens in 2011 we discovered a
ruined pond system hidden in the undergrowth at the back of the neglected
garden. While we worked to improve the other areas of the gardens, adding
colour to the flower beds, creating two wildflower meadows, a hedgerow, an
urban orchard, new seating, compost bins, a greenhouse, raised vegetable beds
and a children’s playground, we never quite knew what to do with the overgrown
and disused pond area.
Gardens are named after Winsford House. The house was built around 1936 by a
Mr. Stephen G. Gee, a local Penge property developer and philanthropist. The
gardens were once the ornamental gardens of the house and include a number of
exotic trees and shrubs, as well as a stunning rose garden. When he died
Stephen Gee gave the house and gardens to the council. Plans of the house and
garden showed the ponds were once a very elaborate display. The cascading decorative
ponds had been fed with piped water from the house and the final large pond had
featured a pump-driven fountain in the centre. The concrete base of this pond
was now cracked and it no longer held water. We considered repairing it and
bringing it back into use, but health and safety considerations made it a
difficult proposition as it would be very deep. Neither did we want to leave it
as a large hole in the ground that someone might fall into in the dark.
have been very keen to add different habitats into Winsford Gardens. This was
why we created our bird nest boxes, the hedgerows and the wildflower meadows.
We think that Winsford Gardens should be for wildlife as much as for the local
residents. So, we hit upon the idea of turning the large pond into a Bog
Why a Bog Garden?
a boggy or permanently moist piece of garden provides another really valuable
habitat within a wildlife garden. Permanently damp, it creates an area where
moisture-loving plants thrive, but it is a safer option than an uncovered pond.
Just like a pond it will attract frogs and toads, sometimes even grass snakes.
Dragonflies and damselflies will perch on the taller grasses and other
moisture-loving plants will attract different varieties of bees and
butterflies. It is the perfect use for a redundant or leaky pond.
needed some funding though, as pond liner, sand, gravel, top soil and plants
are expensive items to purchase. We were therefore grateful that Capital Clean
Up decided that our project was worthy of the award of a grant. After that it
was just a case of some careful planning.
Making the Bog Garden.
already had our hole so no need for digging or excavating. We placed a layer of
sand in the base of the pond first. Next we covered that with butyl pond liner
and placed bricks and stones along the edges to stop it shifting as we walked
on it. We pierced the liner at 1m intervals with a garden fork to allow a small
amount of seepage to prevent the water stagnating. Good drainage was provided
by a layer of gravel placed over the liner. Next, we covered the gravel with
top soil. Unlike pond plants, bog plants thrive in soil with high nutrient
levels which contain lots of organic matter. We let the soil settle to a natural
level and the bog garden was ready for planting.
bought a range of bog plants with plenty of upright foliage in the centre, some
bold broad leaved plants placed more strategically, mixing yellow and purple
flowers, with grasses and pond marginal around the edges. All the plants were
grown for us at the TCV Meantime Nursery in North Greenwich.
Open Garden Squares Day and Planting Out.
annual Open Garden Squares Weekend
is a magical event, where community gardens and private squares throughout
London welcome visitors from around the world. We thought that to combine our
open day on Saturday 20 June 2014 with the planting out of the Bog Garden
plants would be a great idea to involve the local community as well as our weekly
volunteers, and to get the maximum number of people involved in helping to
plant out the new garden. The event was a great success, the sun shone, and the
completed Bog Garden looked stunning.
once wasted space in the gardens had been brought back to life. During the rest
of the summer the plants continued to grow and to spread. An interpretation
board was designed and constructed using waste materials to explain the reasons
behind the project.
completed the project by adding some stepping logs to allow access for
maintenance, and we laid white granite stones around the sides to disguise the
edges of the liner and creating an attractive beach effect. We continue to work
on this area of the park and have further plans to improve the other two ponds
and the rockery that lies behind them.