On the site of the Old Astoria Ballroom, this was the first garden to be reclaimed by Civic Pride. Weeds and rubbish were removed and the garden replanted with a variety of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and perennials. These include buddleia, dogwood, conifers, berberis, fruit trees, wisteria, rose bushes, lilies, eucalyptus, fuchsia, azaleas, peonies, magnolia, cotoneaster, ceanothus and sedum.
Taken over by a group of four Secret Gardeners in 2016, our vision was twofold. To provide a colourful, interesting, peaceful and relaxing environment for the public to enjoy whilst maintaining a healthy ecological balance, supporting a diverse wildlife population with organic gardening.
Overgrown shrubs have been pruned back or moved and new plants that are attractive to pollinators or provide all year round colour planted. Perennials that require less attention in times of water shortage, a composting system, water barrels and benches made from recycled plastic have been added.
A balance between a neat garden including hand-weeding between the paving stones but without destroying wildlife habitats has now been achieved. Log piles, leaf piles and seed heads attract wildlife whilst the compost and leaf mould encourage an increasing worm population.
We’ll continue to maintain and develop the garden by replacing old plants whilst cutting back, splitting and moving established ones. Collaborative working with youth groups to further attract wildlife and encourage younger people to get involved by making bug hotels or bird boxes, is key to our plans.
Careful planning reduced many problems but some minor vandalism has been experienced. Success of the garden is judged by the many compliments from the public and the variety of wildlife using it.
We’re now on our way to providing a scented haven of peace on a busy road, enjoyed equally by human visitors and wildlife alike.