From humble beginnings and a very first pilot in January 2019, our Adopt-A-Tree Pit Project in Tunmarsh Lane started by Green Spaces and Streets Community workers has grown to a total of 6 fully populated mini community gardens, delighting the local residents with seasonal blooms and greenery from one month to the next. And now it’s spreading to other streets…

There is a close-knit group of Community Tree Pit Gardeners who maintain those mini gardens; they have met a couple of times to discuss growing strategy and how to take the project forward. One of the Tree Pits that was a bit neglected got completely transformed with fresh soil and new plants including sunflowers at the middle of May by keen gardener at no 31 Tunmarsh Lane, and she can be seen watering it every day since to ensure young seedlings develop well. A few other neighbours have donated seeds, and we received 24 seedlings from Nicole in Holborn Rd, which have been planted in earlier this week.

The latest initiative from the group was to set up the active watering rota, to combat recent dry weather and make sure that plants in other Tree Pits also get watered regularly- new volunteers have come forward to lend a hand and make use of Community water butt set up at the front of 2 Upperton Road West, as well as few outdoor taps kindly offered for use by Tunmarsh Lane residents.

But, the most exciting outcome from the project so far is the fact that the residents and their families have taken this simple idea further, and started transforming drab looking tree pits in their roads by sowing seeds, planting bushes and donating plants to grow- so now we have 5 more Tree Pit Gardens scattered across Patrick Rd, Sutton Court Rd and as far as Liddon Rd near Balham St.

Green fingered residents have rolled up their sleeves, filled the small tree pits outside their homes with soil, seeds and seedlings, and are actively investing their own time, resources and knowledge to make the streets of South Plaistow beautiful and green. With an encouragement and gardening expertise from PSBL staff the locals feel empowered and encouraged to give their own stamp to their streets, making them more inviting and welcoming. What’s more, new connections are forged, conversations started, and new ideas initiated through the continuous work of Tree Pit Gardening Group….let’s hope the green force will be with them, and they will ‘Go Forth-and Propagate!’ to the delight of all who live nearby.

These mini community gardens seem to have been inspiring the residents not only to garden, but also to pursue their artistic aspirations. The resident from no 88 Sutton Court Rd told me she liked to photograph the tree pits through the seasons, and then paint them. I was promised to get a glimpse of her paintings on my next walkabout…and maybe feature in our next edition of e-news.