Mitcham community Orchard & Gardens
Phipps Bridge Community Garden
Established in 2008 by Sustainable Merton, in collaboration with the National Trust, Merton Abbey Horticultural Society, Merton Council and the local community, Phipps Bridge Community Garden is an example of community gardening at its best.
Our team rescued 4 allotments from disuse and helped bring the rest of the site into use as mini-plots for local residents and the site has flourished for over 10 years.
The local community has been involved throughout the project, contributing time and skills, as well as donations of recycled wood pallets, compost, tools, and much, much more.
Through regular commitment, our volunteers have transformed this space into a social and productive food growing hub, and the garden now produces an abundance of fruit and veg – up to 750kg per year!
Mitcham Community Orchard & Gardens
The creation of Mitcham Community Orchard, led by Sustainable Merton in partnership with Merton Council as part of the Dig Merton initiative, inspired 200 residents and 12 local partners and businesses to help transform a derelict area of spare land into an award-winning community orchard with 30 different varieties of fruit trees, 7 raised beds, ponds, a soft fruit collection and a wildflower meadow.
The site’s development continues and it has been used for numerous barbecues and parties by local residents and groups. The orchard is a community and educational resource to be enjoyed by everyone and we need the help of local volunteers to keep it growing strong.
As part of the habitat plan to develop the site to be more welcoming to wildlife the following projects have been started.
Three wildlife ponds are now installed in a complex in the corner near the currant bushes. They are optimised for wildlife, using banks with holes and crevices and planted with British native aquatic plants. We hope to attract toads, frogs and a host of colourful insects, such as damselflies.
We have now planted 120 metres of hedgerow around the site, which will grow into and around the current chestnut paling fence whilst it is establishing. As well as providing a valuable habitat for wildlife, the hedgerow is comprised of edible bushes - hazel, blackthorn, elder, dog rose and crab apples. This was achieved through a donation of 420 saplings from the Woodland Trust, planted with the help of over 40+ volunteers.
We have now seeded almost 100m2 of wildflower meadow as part of our habitat plan. This will provide a valuable habitat for wildlife such as butterflies, moths and bees. The wildlife ponds abut this area, bringing together our biodiversity habitat plan.
More local community growing spaces...
Growing for health and well being
Food growing and gardening is becoming more widely recognised by health professionals and others working towards improving health.
Increasing people’s exposure to, and use of, green spaces has been linked to:
Long-term reductions in overall reported health problems.
Reduced levels of obesity and increased activity.
Higher self-rated mental health and improved self-esteem.
Reductions in depression and anxiety and improved social function.
Weakened effect of income inequalities on health.
Increased intake of fruit and vegetables by children.
"What joy to spend time out of doors and to actually make things grow- and then eat them!