The Wimbledon Piazza was transformed into a garden last Sunday, equipped with banana trees, vegetables and beautiful flowers. For one day only, keen gardeners from the local community, including members of Sustainable Merton, came together to create a vibrant garden in the heart of Wimbledon Town Centre. It was all part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival.
The idea behind the ‘People’s Pop-up Piazza Garden’ was that individual people would each bring one item, such as a pot of flowers, then take it away again at the end of the day. But people brought much more than flowers! For the brief duration of the garden, local shoppers were able to recline in a sunny deckchair surrounded by banana and fig trees, a wigwam of broad beans, an insect hotel, a green-roofed recycling box cover, a beehive composter, a bicycle covered in foliage and numerous flowers, vegetables and herbs. Perhaps the most unexpected display was someone sat at a spinning wheel spinning wool dyed from her home-grown onions and red cabbage.
The event was coordinated by local resident, Caroline Pankhurst, who is a trustee of Sustainable Merton, with the support of numerous local people. She said of the event: “I’ve always thought it would be nice to have a green space to enjoy in Wimbledon town centre and thought it would be fun to see what the local community could come up with as part of the Chelsea Fringe. People really got behind the idea and I was amazed by all the things they wanted to bring. Visitors seemed really happy with what we’d done and kept asking if the garden was going to stay there or if we were going to do it again”.
Sustainable Merton provided compost, pots and peas for the event so that visitors to the piazza who were inspired to start gardening could plant peas to take home. Individual members also provided plants for the event.
This is the first time the Chelsea Fringe Festival has come to Wimbledon. It was set up 3 years ago as an alternative garden festival running at the same time as the Chelsea Flower Show