Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Adopt an Elderly Person's Garden!

The campaign to open up more of London’s gardening space is finally gaining momentum it seems. A few weeks ago, the London Vegetable Garden received news that building sites left dormant by the recession are to be turned into temporary allotments (see the article here). Needless to say, this is fantastic news for London gardeners fed up with having nowhere to grow their own vegetables and plants.

London gardeners have further cause to celebrate today however, with Wandsworth council and Age Concern teaming up to unveil a fantastic new London gardening scheme. The premise is simple – adopt an elderly person’s garden and help to maintain it. As well as helping elderly residents to enjoy their garden for longer, it also presents space-challenged London gardeners with a garden to work on.

Age Concern’s Sarah Jackson states that:

“Managing the garden can be a struggle for older people. At the same time, there are many people without access to outdoor space who really want to garden. This scheme will help to bring unused garden space back to life and improve the well-being of everyone involved. We've had a huge response already and are busy vetting volunteers and gardens — it's a bit like a matchmaking service really.”

Obviously, this scheme has been extremely well received by London gardeners desperate for a plot to cultivate, but especially so amongst elderly Londoners, many of whom want to enjoy a nice garden, but aren’t able to maintain it on their own.

As positive as this news is, it also serves to highlight depressing statistics for London gardeners on allotment waiting lists. Wandsworth actioned this scheme in an attempt to ease the 1,500 people that are waiting for its 607 allotment plots. And with Camden and Islington residents facing waiting times of 40 years and 25 years respectively, this story serves to show just how desperate a situation London gardeners find themselves in.

Wandsworth council deserve to be praised – although we’re a long way from giving Londoners the gardening space they deserve, this new scheme shows that local governments are starting to recognise the severity of this problem and are taking small steps to remedy this – long may it continue.

(The article that this blog entry was based upon can be viewed on the Evening Standard website by clicking here.)


  1. thanks for putting ur url in the comment u made at the evening standard website. i had tried to grow tomatoes last year, but did not realise u have to feed it. so got only very small green tomatoes. maybe i can get inspired by reading ur blog and get into it again. i managed to grow mixed salad leaves on my window sill. then i found out that i dont like eating them raw, preferring lettuce. i tried growing basil, but the seedlings all died except one stalk. how do u ensure they are watered when u go on holiday? or do u never go on long holidays anymore? or have to cultivate ur neighbours to come in and water them whilst u are away?

  2. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, it's a great idea. I used to live in Wandsworth adn they are the type of council to try something like this out.

  3. Yes in the long run, space poses a real problem to those keen in gardening. Allotment can only satisfy a few. So the rest has to make do with pots... But growing plants can be very satisfying even if its balcony gardening.
    ~ bangchik

  4. This scheme already exists on the Isle of Wight. Good to see that Age Concern in London have copied the idea.

  5. The scheme is a great idea, but I hope people are vetted properly for the safety of the elderly, sadly there are a lot of unsavoury people about.

  6. Thank you for all of your comments - this issue has clearly resonated with a lot of you. As 'anonymous' says, this scheme already exists on the Isle of Wight - it's foray up to London shows encouraging signs that it's slowly starting to take off.

    Maureen does raise an interesting point however - it's essential to ensure that people are vetted thoroughly. Elderly people are at risk from unsavoury characters, so the authorities need to ensure that people are vetted suitably.

  7. Thanks for blogging about this. It really is a fantastic idea and a win-win situation. I hope more London (and other) councils join the scheme.



Related Posts with Thumbnails