Veg patches in the churchyard

Salads and runner beans are the latest additions to a churchyard in Ladbroke Grove where Marie Mulcahy has started a small community garden. Called Bee Interested, the project employs three apprentices who garden alongside Mulcahy (right, with apprentice Johnson Mudde) with one day a week gardening training at Capel Manor College in Regent’s Park. Mulcahy has also started a forest garden at St Thomas’ Church in Kensal Road, with fruit bushes, edible dog roses and loganberries. The rest of her time is spent with a disabled group, teaching them how to garden raised beds at St Charles Hospital. Bee Interested started after RBKC environment manager Terry Oliver asked Mulcahy if she would garden the space next to Ladbroke Grove’s St Michael’s Church. Instead of just doing a spot of pruning she has turned it into the Bee Interested community growing project, with people joining in on a voluntary basis, helped by funding from National Westminter Bank and a charity called Capital Growth. The project has just won a prize of £100 worth of seeds and plants from the Seed Pantry.  The group makes pesto and chutneys (orders over £10 are delivered free to anyone living in Notting Hill) and will soon be selling from a market stall. Bee Interested also supplies some local restaurants with micro salads and edible flowers, calendula, viola and dog roses. If you have a garden that needs a spot of Spring pruning and a mulch this may be one for you … the Bee Interested team will come and sort your garden out, four gardeners for £25/hour … bit of a bargain. “I am positive about community and bringing people together,” says Mulcahy, “I want people to come and grow together, if all the community comes together we won’t feel fearful of each other. People are so isolated.”  

Happily others in Notting Hill are feeling the same about urban plants and bees. Blenheim Crescent’s Ceramica Blue has even decided to sell some themed dishtowels, £12.50 a pop. “We do our weekly fruit and vegetable shopping on the treasure that is Portobello Market”, says Ceramica Blue owner Lindy Wiffen, “Buying produce in its natural season makes sense on so many levels so to help with that we now have British Seasonal tea towels”. Choose from fruit and vegetables, plants for a Bee friendly garden, even a wild food – foraging theme.  Mary-Lu

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