28th June 2014
Not my garden but the rather grandly named World Peace Garden at Hampstead Heath station!
Hampstead Heath station is our local and ever since we have lived here there has been a bit of steep waste ground between the station and Parliament Hill (station on right, Parliament Hill of left in the image above) which was used as a general dumping ground – old prams, supermarket trollies, bottles, cans, plastic bags, you name it. But some six or seven years ago, local estate agent, Jonathan Bergman, whose offices are just across the street from the station, decided that enough was enough and that there had to be something better that could be done with this small patch of land.
It took him several years to canvas support, raise some money and persuade the local council to sell – and that was before he and an ever growing band of volunteers started the arduous task of removing the rubbish and coverting this very unpromising sliver of railway bank, heavily littered with chunks of concrete not to mention overgrown with sycamore ‘weeds’ into a ‘garden’. (You can see pictures of some of them at work here on their site.) However, with the help of a local garden designer and a number of school groups the site eventually got cleared and planting could begin!
Since then they have used the concrete chunks as a basis for rock gardens, carved steps into the slopes up to the street, cut down the excessive sycamores and used them to make picnic areas, more steps, seating round the trees and tables. They have hung wind charms between the other overhanging trees, and planted lots of lots of bulbs (see their site for a picture of the garden in spring) and lots and lots of plants.
They already have one pond, as you can see, and are in the process of building another one down at the bottom of the ‘lot’.
Open every day between 10 and 5pm the garden now hosts innumerable group visits and loads of children’s parties (they just love running up and down all the little paths and steps and squatting down in the picnic area). And that is not to mention the pleasure it gives to all of those of us who walk up and down Parliament Hill on a regular basis or who stand waiting for a train in the station can now look across at a lovely peaceful garden rather than a rubbish dump!
A really great achievement!