Gardening for Good

Gardening for Good

It’s estimated that lockdown created 3 million new gardeners in the UK, whether selecting indoor houseplants for the right conditions, nurturing a pot of annual flowers or taking on an entire allotment to grow food, us Brits were desperate to feel the soil beneath or fingers.

Whilst for many this was a way to connect with nature, something many had simply been too busy to do before, it can also be a path to connecting with others, joining online garden chats or swapping tips with your allotment neighbours.

Steph from Leigh-on-Sea had been interested in growing food prior to the pandemic, but without a garden had been growing small amounts in pots on her front doorstep. Whilst also wanting to meet other locals, she set up the Leigh branch of Incredible Edible during the summer of 2020. Incredible Edible was founded in Todmorden, Yorkshire in 2012 to create kind, confident and connected communities through the power of food, with food grown in public spaces to create conversations. Using social media to drum up interest, she was eventually offered a space in Leigh Library Gardens to build raised beds for growing veg. Offers of help from strangers soon followed and together they created a beautiful space full of food plants for local residents to help themselves to. During the first months of creation, Steph soon found she’d also met and made friends with plenty of new people.

Emma Anderson was one of those, who found the trips to the park for watering with her two kids an opportunity to get outdoors and create some routine during a strange period –

“For myself and many others in the community it gave us a reason and purpose during lockdown. We’ve not have been able to meet much in person but we did form a community online, shooting ideas back and forth. It allowed me to share my knowledge and skills as well as learn so much from the others”

The Friends of Leigh Library Gardens are a group of volunteers who maintain the beautiful Library Gardens, and are one of many gardening volunteer groups run in the Southend borough. The Friends of Leigh Cliffs also started gardening together during the past year, to bring a neglected part of Leigh-on-Sea back to life. Westcliff also had a makeover with volunteers teaming up with Make Southend Sparkle to transform street planters into flower-filled pots once again.

With projects from Leigh to Shoebury there is a space for all novice or experienced gardeners to meet others whilst digging, weeding and watering. If you’d like to find a group close to you, email and she’d be happy to help!

Jamie Langstone