After years of preparations and months of building works, Brixton Windmill Centre was finally handed over to the Friends in July. However, work to the landscape area was still on-going, and the recent completion of the terraced garden is the latest, long awaited addition to the park refurbishment. Annick Alet reports on the latest developments and plans for the future.
Sponsored through Western Riverside Environmental Fund (WREF) programme for the provision, maintenance or improvement of a public park, including the protection of their social and built; as well as natural; environment, the terraced garden was set behind the windmill at the side of the new centre. It is a gated facility, allowing disability access to the bottom beds and easy gardening work in the other areas thanks to raised beds at the first level. With the help of our volunteers, choice seedlings (sourced from our Incredible Edible partners in Myatt’s Fields’ greenhouse and local donors) have been planted in the purposely designed beds, presenting an attractive and useful display which visitors have already remarked upon.
Among the many activities that FoWG has organised over the years, gardening has always had pride of place. Sprucing up the park to make it a fitting environment for the windmill and a pleasant green space for visitors and local residents is one of the Parks Group main aims, a FoWG sub-committee that concentrate their efforts on the park. From bulb and wheat planting; to one-off occasions like foraging and preserve making workshops, gardening has provided us with welcome opportunities to engage further with the community and celebrate the windmill.
With the addition of the terraced gardens however, many more avenues open up to support our gardening and learning efforts. Due to the present restrictions in the world-wide health crisis, the centre is currently closed but we look forward in due course to targeted developments in areas such as growing your own organic food and organising regular cooking and baking workshops with our home grown ingredients. We are getting new funding to organise free workshops for planting vegetables, herbs and flowers, and sample wheat strands; learning how to maintain the beds and ultimately meet up in our brand new kitchen to prepare and enjoy the food we grow.
Meanwhile, although Parks’ gardening workshops have been suspended in line with the restrictions in place, some of our Parks’ volunteers have been doing some ‘solo working’, seeing to the Terraced Garden and keeping the area weed-free. Elsewhere in the park, we are supervising the planting of seven heritage fruit trees also provided through the WREF funding; and are overseeing the completion of the landscaping of the area behind the windmill, including the seeding of a wild flower section. Later on, we will continue with the maintenance of our soft fruit growing area by the retaining wall; one of our various projects for the improvement of Windmill Gardens.
To this end, we are grateful for the cooperation of parks users, from dog owners who pick up after their pets to parents who are gently engaging their children to admire and love the flowers but leave them to grow for the good of all, especially in these dire times when our parks and open spaces are very conducive to all our wellbeing and mental health.
The Park Group meet regularly every first Saturday of the month from 12:30 – 14:30, equipment and light refreshment are provided. We welcome new volunteers, and look forward to reconvene as soon as restrictions are lifted and normality is resumed.