Each May National Gardening Week comes around and social media is rich with photos of gardeners and their beautiful gardens coming into that late spring blooming of colour, looking perfect in the clear light that comes in May. The late tulips, alliums, aquilegia and the blossoms of the elder alongside an occasional early rose are enough to bring joy to everyone’s heart.
And at Edible Bristol, the organisation I lead that supports community growing, everything is beginning to blossom and bloom, the first crops are coming out of the ground and everything generally looks rosy as the spring rains are still in the soil and growth seems magical.
But of course that’s not the only story of gardening during National Gardening Week and I would like to turn attention to the community gardeners, the balcony and windowsill gardeners and the folk who, due to their circumstances, whatever they may be, find themselves without a garden. Across the country folk are building community through shared community gardens, where they meet, grow food and flowers, drink tea and most importantly where they connect, often with people that outside that space they may never see that they have anything in common with.
As a nation we have a rich cornucopia of food cultures from across the globe. Food is central to celebrations, festivals, births and deaths and everything in between and that food culture can be seen in choices of crops, especially when we look at urban community growing spaces. Often foods that can’t be bought in the UK are abundant in these spaces, with callaloo, cassava and collacasia all mixing with exciting varieties of beans and squash.
So this National Gardening Week why not find your local community garden and go along and see what’s happening and meet the incredible people who keep these spaces going whilst feeding their communities?