Caroline is a resident in Millbrook. At the foot of the hill where she lives there was a small piece of ground that owned by the local council. No-one came to garden it or look after it and it was very overgrown. People had started to leave rubbish there. Someone had left an old hoover and there was lots of glass bottles lying around.
This really upset Caroline, as she passed the land ever day on her way to and from her home and she decided to do something about it. She asked her local council if it would be possible for her to tend the patch of land. She had to write a formal letter of request before they gave permission. She also had to purchase a license to garden there and be responsible for supplying tools and buying any bushes she thought would be appropriate.
One of the neighbours to the land gave some money toward the venture, which Caroline used to buy some bark chips to protect the ground. Another neighbour donated some begonia plants. Caroline realised she would need some help to clear the ground and to help dig. First of all she asked a few friends if they would help to clear some of the rubbish away, which they did. Then she asked KC English if we had any volunteers that could help her dig over the land and help with the planting. We said “yes, of course” J. We arranged a date when we could send some people to help her and on 10 July everybody arrived at the land.
It was hot and sunny on the day of the digging. Caroline had brought her own gardening tools and also borrowed some from KC English staff. Everyone began clearing the land, first with rakes to pull out the grass and then with forks and spades to dig up any rubbish and big stones. There were lots of bottles buried in the ground. There were also grass snakes and slow-worms living in the grass and these had to be removed with care and put in the hedge.
Eventually the ground was ready for planting. The volunteers helped Caroline dig holes and give the plants a good dose of feed before planting. Once the plants were in they covered the ground with the bark chips to hopefully stop weeds growing back.
Since the initial planting, other people in the neighbourhood have been watering the plants and there has been no signs of rubbish being left. Caroline says “All in all a good result and very much a community project. It has generated a great deal of positive feedback so well worth the effort.”
In the future Caroline will also tackle the other side of the patch of land, with the help of her friends/neighbours and KC English. This is a small area underneath a tree. The Parish Council have agreed to help fund a bench for this bit of land when it is ready.