The Old English Garden, Battersea Park

On Thursday I went to the unveiling of the Old English Garden in Battersea Park. What a delight! It made me want to move to the country and spend my days making daisy chains and listening to the bees! If you ever read The Secret Garden as a child then this garden would really appeal to you, I’d imagine – it has a gurgling fountain in a pond with huge lilypads, it has bright, wild flowers, and it’s surrounded by an old wall strewn with ivy. The perfect inner-city retreat!

The Old English Garden has been created by Thrive, a UK charity whose mission is to “harness the therapeutic power of gardening” as a way of changing the lives of unemployed disabled people. Trainee gardeners attend the Thrive programme for up to two years after which they can go on to gain a vocational qualification and the skills needed to enter paid employment. The Old English Garden programme has been supported by Jo Malone Limited – and there are more projects to come. Jo Malone want to help people in need to engage with their communities and develop useful skills that could lead them to paid work. They also want to help regenerate green spaces, and they have certainly helped Thrive do a marvellous job with this one!

I was at Battersea Park bright and early on Thursday to hear some of the thoughts of the people who were most involved in the project – it was a little bit like a wedding, with a long table laid out beneath a tunnel of vines and plants. Actually, this would make an amazing spot for a wedding, but I doubt you’d be allowed. And think of the weather stress you’d have… Luckily the rain held off over breakfast, but it had rained loads the night before and then it rained the day after! So perhaps not a great wedding venue after all…

To stick with the “garden” theme, I wore my bright flower-print shirt to breakfast – this one, if you remember, was from Monica & Joe. My face looks a bit puffy, doesn’t it? That’s what happens when I get up before 9am – my whole body goes into a severe state of shock. Hahaha.

You can see more pictures of the Old English Garden and “watch it grow” at the Jo Malone Facebook Page. Or, if you’re in London, go and visit it in real life! Take a book (The Secret Garden) and a bottle of homemade lemonade and lose a few hours…

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