Guerrilla gardeners restore colour to riverside

This modest plot between Buccleuch Gardens and the former Three Pigeons pub beside the Thames at Richmond was much neglected until Richmond Society members decided to do something about what had become an eyesore.

They hatched a plan to clear it and plant bulbs to restore some colour. Bulbs were duly donated and the Society bought compost and more plants. Members volunteered to do the gardening. The project had a disappointing start. Some bulbs came through, but not as many as was hoped.

“We put in several hundred pounds’ worth of plants in February, and in March a posse of workmen arrived with their mechanical digger to replace the sewer underneath and dig up round the bollard” said Nicky Wood, who chairs the Society’s Landscaping and Riverside Committee. “Not much of our planting survived the onslaught.”

Then fortunes changed. A chance encounter with Anna Kapuvari, a garden designer who was walking by as volunteers toiled away, led to the donation of more plants.

“Everything is planted now, and we think it’s looking pretty good,” Nicky said.

Volunteer Gardeners at the site

PHOTO (L-R) Volunteer gardeners Jean Loveland, Lizzie Danckwerts, Carey Clark, Nicky Wood, and Lindsey Andrews of the Richmond Society.

Thanks are due to the Metropolitan & Public Gardens Association and Taylors of Holbeach who donated 250 bulbs, Ham House for more than 300 bulbs, Petersham Nurseries for more than 150 plants, GoodGym Richmond whose members dug, weeded, composted, and helped to plant bulbs, Richmond upon Thames Council Parks Department which supported the project, Richmond Society volunteer gardeners Lindsey Andrews, Carey Clark, Lizzie Danckwerts, Linda Duffield, Jean Loveland, Hilary Pereira and Nicky Wood.