A community garden comes to life in a London street

The play of plants making up the rows in Carrot Common reflects our urban landscape in a novel way – as a building A community garden has come to life on Jackman Avenue in…

A community garden comes to life in a London street

The play of plants making up the rows in Carrot Common reflects our urban landscape in a novel way – as a building

A community garden has come to life on Jackman Avenue in Shoreditch.

Carrot Common started as a project for children living nearby, and was planned by two teenage volunteers. It is believed to be the first public garden in London to be designed by a community (Christopher Sainsbury and Christopher Wesis built The Garden in Tottenham last year).

A big part of this project was the community response to its inception. In June 2016, about 40 neighbours got together to decorate the “banana wood” in the garden – to illustrate its importance to the neighbourhood.

The room also serves as a gathering point for residents. Flit (for Community Infrastructure Change), the hub for community interests, also runs sessions every week on climate change, indigenous cultures and saving the environment.

There are also plants of different colours – that marks different colours and also tells us about the community. We wanted to have the diversity in a garden and as community plantings.

Zoe Wood, 15

Mikki Smith, 13

Roni Smith, 8

Jaz Wood, 9

Woodland Society Photograph: Billy Catrel

The main purpose of the community garden is to create community and to get some interaction with each other.

The main purpose of the community garden is to create community and to get some interaction with each other. There are lots of different members in the community and there are a few younger ones, but there is still a good mix.

They’ve actually had a very important impact on the community. To have a community-based project means everything.

Woodland Society

The texture, the colour of the garden and the colour of the plants are all helped with the usage of artificial turf. Artificial turf lets the plants not completely take over the space. The rake makes it even – so that no plants get over-fertilised – and it protects the plants better from the elements.

I’m very grateful to have my own garden and to have my own garden like this in the city. It really helps.

The play of the plant lines gives a good picture of what the street is like.

It really helps. A friend of mine has been playing here with me, and they’ve tried to do it together, but they’ve had to be taken to here by their parents. It helps a lot – it makes you feel comfortable in here.

There’s a whole bunch of different plants that I like. I like coleus. The play of the plant lines gives a good picture of what the street is like.

I like hanging out here because I have friends who walk by every day, so we just sit and chat.

I love hanging out here because I have friends who walk by every day, so we just sit and chat. I have a friend called Syl who also likes to hang out here.

I’m really glad they have something like this in Shoreditch, because it’s closer to home than people have in a park.

The play of the plant lines gives a good picture of what the street is like.

Students from Cazeneuve primary school. Photograph: Cazeneuve primary school

The students from Cazeneuve primary school love it. The girls have adapted to the play so well. I love seeing their reaction to it. They are having fun, and I like to see their faces when they see it.

We love hanging out there. It’s fun because we get different plants. We haven’t been here that much lately, because the school is busy doing exams.

It’s fun for everyone to go out and look for new plants, new colours and new shapes.

Last time we used the garden there was a wonderful tomato smell. To smell the tomato and see the tomato plants isn’t such a bad thing.

The project is entirely done by community volunteers, not just two teenage volunteers.

Jarni Harpinder, community involvement manager

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