An update by David Smart

I am glad to report excellent progress on this project, designed to be a feature of interest in Dulwich Park and to encourage the rewarding activity of "grow your own" self sufficiency.

We have now finished clearing the ground, which was a major undertaking. Some dozen volunteers have been hard at work since February, and the very much overgrown garden has been transformed. Removing deeply rooted rogue trees and the ground scrub was a major undertaking. The material has been built into a wide nature hedge (a project of the Head Groundsman - Ric Glenn).

We now await the arrival of railway sleepers so that we can start positioning the raised beds. There will allow access for wheel chairs. The park authorities will select the pathway material and take care of this side of things. The main entrance is to be at the back, up the track leading to the stables entrance. It would be nice and sensible to have an entrance through the front gate of the lodge, also.

I have been asked about the crops we shall grow there. What I would say at this stage is that the project cannot obviously be completed in the short term. If we can get the raised beds in place by the middle of May, we have time to plant a wide variety of crops for this year, but we may be too late for some, and definitely too late for others (eg potatoes, parsnips). Of course we need not worry about this, as we are thinking in the longer term. Some crops such as asparagus or strawberries take some years to get established Other crops like brassica, corn, spinach and beans can go in quite late and should do well straight away. I will not enlarge on this aspect at this stage as it would take up much space and possibly lead to some controversy! We have plenty of other things to do first!!

Might I add that anyone who wishes to inspect the growing of examples of virtually all fruit and vegetables grown in the UK may find them in the Dulwich Village Fruit and Vegetable Garden, which can be reached via 5 Roseway. Members of the Dulwich Society may well know about this as the garden which has been open each summer under the scheme promoted by the Garden Group. This will be, as it were, a trial ground for the Rosebery Garden. This is open for inspection at any convenient time for anyone interested (phone 02077338335).

In conclusion, may I say well done and thanks to all volunteers.

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