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Carol S’s Garden Blog

Some Great Snow Pictures from Last Year
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We are featured on Parklife Blog this week!
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Kilburn Library Garden - April 2011

Much needed water

The Chairs Have Arrived this week too!

The Chairs in The Garden, and a close up of the logo!

The Tree in full blossom

Kilburn Library Garden
Is a volunteer project to transform the garden at the back of kilburn library, on Salisbury Road.
To contact us & find out more see
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Perseverance eventually gets results!

The Start of the Garden Clearing

We have been working to reclaim the space behind Kilburn Library for nearly two years. When we started, the area had been closed off for some time and not been used at all. The Probation Service had come in and cleared a lot of ground weeds, but there was still a good cover of bramble and bindweed, as well as sapling trees and annual weeds

Once we had cleared the site of current vegetation, we had the chance to look at the ground in more detail. The soil level was 18 inches higher at one end of the plot than the other, and the higher soil level meant that in those areas the damp proof course of the library building was obstructed – so one of the first tasks was to clear these and try to dig over the soil.

When we started digging, the full scale of the operation we had undertaken became apparent. The soil level was raised because the site had been used as a dumping ground for all manner of waste for at least twenty years! Manual digging was running the risk of killing us all for very little result, so we decided to bring in a motorised rotivator. This was still hard work, but great fun, and over several sessions brought results. We dug up old building materials: slate, brick, dumped concrete, paving slabs guttering and drainage pipes; we dug up dumped mattresses, plastic bags full of miscellaneous junk, car parts, washing lines, computer components, fire grates, milk crates, lots of bits of broken china and huge amounts of broken glass. We estimate that we have dug up and bagged over two tonnes of rubbish from the site – and we are very grateful to the management of Queens Park for arranging to remove this for us; we couldn’t have managed this without them.

As we have dug over the site, we have moved the soil into raised beds, incorporating well rotted manure to try and improve the soil structure. The soil level has been returned to its original level through three quarters of the site (there is a lovely flowering cherry in one corner, which was planted at the raised level, so we have kept that corner higher) We have also hired in a wood chipper and removed an old elder tree, two ash trees which were growing out of the foundations of the library building, as well as cutting down all the saplings (some of them were 20ft high) growing down the side alley of the site. Some of the wood has been used to create raised beds, some has been stacked as a habitat for invertebrates, and all the wood that we have chipped has been used as a temporary surface in the garden.

We are in the process of installing the final raised beds, and are starting to plant! Our espaliered pears look as if they will crop this year, and the wallflowers were superb for the second year running. Our immediate future plans are to install a trellis fence with gate between the two halves of the garden and to research suitable surfaces for the earth based part of the garden, in order to make it accessible for library users with limited mobility. The trellis fence will make it possible for children to use the paved part of the garden safely: the other half of the garden will need more work to make it useable, in particular making sure that the risk from broken glass is minimised.

Throughout the period, we have had regular meetings and digging days, usually once a month (sometimes more frequently in the summer months); on any one digging session there have been an average of five to seven people, and it is a great tribute to the determination of this group of volunteers that we have got as far as we have. It has been a hard slog, but well worth it. We are now getting to the point where we can really start planting.

The Garden - May 2010


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