Discover the joys of gardening at Meanwhile Wildlife Gardens
Functioning as a green lung in the midst of the densely populated neighbourhood of North Kensington, is a small, special space – the Meanwhile Wildlife Garden.
The gardens have been a community project since its inception in the early 1980s and are the training grounds for Mind’s horticulture programme.
Our training course
City & Guilds, Level 1 training course is rolled out every Tuesday and Thursday to participants who not only learn to become exceptionally skilled gardeners, but spend time in a setting that hosts a wide range of gorgeous plants. Most of the plants are grown from seed by our students who then get the pleasure of planting them out and tending to them. A great sense of pride and pleasure is gained from watching the development of plants that people have nurtured from their beginnings. And these plants, in turn, nurture a host of beneficial insects whose pollinating activities replenish our stock of plants.
The training programme is both accessible and practical. One of the great joys of training in a public garden is the interface with people who regularly walk by and appreciate the development of the space. Our trainees are contributing in a meaningful way to the neighbourhood. Each year the gardens look more lush and more colourful which is a testament to the work our participants engage in.
Not only do trainees enjoy the opportunities offered within the gardens, they also expand their social connections, finding companionship and structure which greatly aids mental health.
The Nature Shed
For those who do not feel able to make a 12 month, twice a week commitment to a training programme (which may sound intimidating but is actually really fun), there is a Monday afternoon drop-in session.
Every Monday, the Nature Shed group make its way to a small allotment plot at the bottom of Elmslie Hornimann Gardens. Go by and take a look at how many vegetables have been crammed into a relatively small space!
These vegetables have been raised from seed, carefully tended and nurtured until large enough to plant out. The delight and satisfaction gained from harvesting and eating vegetables that you have known from seed is indescribable, and also very delicious.
So, if you have wanted to know the names of plants, are interested in learning more about cycles of the natural world, want to see bugs and birds in a friendly environment or wondered why people keep batting on about how good gardening is for mind and body – join us!
For more information or to take part…
The criteria for joining our programme are:
- you must a resident of or receiving care in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
- and to be referred by someone in your local Community Mental Health Hub.
You do not need to have ever touched a plant in your life to qualify as a participant. You will be taught everything, you will be provided with everything you need, and you will probably have a really good time.
For more information please contact Deena J. Kestenbaum on 07950 484 456 or Emma Brooks on 07950 484 131.
The wildlife garden is situated within the larger Meanwhile Gardens that begin at 156 Kensal Road, W10 5BN and ends at Westbourne Park Road.
Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 15th August 2023