Right after coming out of hospital with a withered spirit, I received a refreshing invitation from my good friend Sussanah Phillipson, which raised me from my slumber. I was to part take in an “enrichment day” at Hampstead School where she is an artist in residence, and help transform a concrete school yard into a little green oasis filed with edible and medicinal plants, flowers and fruit trees and shrubs.
We sourced old cupboards, some shelves and other bits of old furniture that was cluttering a store room from the school and turned them into planters. We were donated compost and a variety of fruit shrubs and vegetables from Edible Landscapes in Manor park, an incredible project run by amazing Ms. Jo Homan, a truly inspiring lady dedicated to creating edible landscapes around London.
We created 4 raised beds and planted them with over 20 different kinds of veg and fruit, from strawberries, raspberries, red and white currants, wineberry, mint, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, kale, spinach, chard, onion, tomato, marigolds, sunflowers, peas and beans.
All for free!
What moved me during this experiment was the kids reaction and irrational fear of soil, manure and plants being slowly replaced by joy at the discovery of their deeper need for connection with the soil and plants.
They layered the beds using Permaculture principles, they understood the connection between healthy soil ecology and healthy plants which reward them with healthy and tasty fruit and veg. They were happy and committed to looking after it. What a wonderful thing to share with them. I felt energised and inspired to carry on the work there and joined them for several workshops on design, Biomodd and all things plant related.
This also helped my healing process. I felt grateful for being reminded of how powerful and healing being connected with nature is.
A year later the garden is growing well.
Photo credits to talented Ms. Aiste Saulyte. Check out her work here.