Open Garden Squares Weekend

Three Merton gardens will be opening their gates

London Parks & Gardens Trust have announced that 212 gardens in 27 London boroughs - including Merton - will be taking part in the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend.

The 2012 weekend will take place immediately after the extended Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, and for the first time, the event will be in association with the National Trust.

This year 23 new gardens will be opening their gates for the first time – these range from several National Trust gardens to community gardens to schools, urban ecology centres, roof gardens and allotments.

They will be offering a wide range of activities such as visits to an Observation Beehive in Greenwich to exhibitions of Art& Sculpture in Stoke Newington (Hackney), Lewisham and
Holland Park (Kensington & Chelsea). Other gardens will be offering face painting and crafts in Lambeth, bug hotel making in Bromley and knitting in Lewisham.

The three Merton gardens are:

Deen City Farm's Growing Gardens Community Project. This is a hidden garden on the city farm in South Wimbledon, begun in 2003 on a disused, overgrown part of the farm bramble- and nettle-ridden, now visitors can wander its colourful paths and be inspired by the quirky, creative approach to gardening.

There are raised vegetable areas, allotment and demonstration composting areas, a wildlife garden and pond. The garden is maintained by a steady stream of garden volunteers.

At the back of the garden is a turf maze, overlooked by an eco-cob building, which features a Fizzy Bottle Roof designed by artist William Waterhouse, created by the community out of 5,000 plastic bottles. The building won the Guardian Green Award for Best Green Building 2009.

It will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4.30pm.

Paddock Allotments on Cannon Hill Common. The 5.5-acre site was set aside for allotment use in 1926, allowing some 107 plots to be made available for an annual rent. Plotholders of many nationalities work the site, which is reflected in the produce they grow and the methods they use.

The Paddock Horticultural Society was founded in 1959 to purchase and sell stock to tenants on the Paddock Allotments site on Cannon Hill Common and became responsible for running the site in 1991.

Since then it has built a garage, fitted out its clubhouse, shop, kitchen, office and workshop, improved drainage, laid hard-standing, created a gazebo area and provided extra gates. The society also runs an active social programme.

It will be open on Saturday from 1pm-5pm and Sunday from 10am-1pm.

Phipps Bridge Allotment Garden. A thriving community allotment garden in New Close, rescued from dereliction in 2008. Some 40 Sustainable Merton volunteers spent more than 1,000 person-hours hacking down brambles, removing skiploads of rubbish and installing drainage. Raised beds, a fruit cage and a shed with a reception area followed.

Two local schools worked on plots and the schools' gardening project now extends to ten Mitcham primary schools gardening on their own sites. The local community have been involved throughout the project and have contributed their time and skills, as well as donations of recycled wood pallets, compost, tools and more.

Part of the land is allocated as mini-plots to individuals who want to try out allotmenteering; the rest is communally managed. Annual vegetable production totals 3/4 to 1 tonne.

It will be open on Sunday from 10am-5pm.

May 2, 2012

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Tickets cost £9 if bought in advance and £12 during the weekend.