During the pandemic, many people have found refuge in gardens and green spaces but none of this comes as news to De Beauvoir Gardeners Club. They have been sharing their love of gardening for a very long time.
Founded in 1978, the club has been run by generations of De Beauvoir Town residents for gardeners of all ages and abilities, whether they have gardens, allotments, or window boxes.
With membership open to anyone in the wider Hackney and Islington area, the club’s aim is to share their love of plants, growing, and outside spaces – with a keen focus on gardening for wildlife and pollinators.
Avril, Club Secretary, said: “It’s very much a friendship group and gardening is what brings us together. De Beauvoir is a close community and being a member is a way to get to know like-minded neighbours.”
The club has over 80 members who enjoy monthly speakers, discounts at the local garden centre, coach trips and a monthly newsletter.
The club meets in The Crypt at St Peter’s Church, with the programme this year having covered everything from making your own wormery to green roofs and starting an urban flower farm. Meetings are open to non-members for a small fee.
“Our events can be summed up as being about what to grow, where to grow it, and how to grow it,” explained Judith, Club Chair.
“Our members have diverse gardening interests, including organic gardening, rewilding, growing fruit and vegetables, and ornamental gardens, so we aim to cater to all of these interests with our monthly speakers.”
A highlight of the club’s calendar is the annual Flower and Produce Show in De Beauvoir Square. Locals enter their home-grown flowers, vegetables and fruits, cakes, bakes and preserves, flower arranging and art and crafts. There are a host of children’s competitions and, of course, the famous dog show.
Recently, the club has been involved with a community garden project renovating Ufton Gardens. Working alongside Hackney Council, the club has helped transform the park on Downham Road into a green space for everyone. Members have donated both their time and their plants, as well as building raised beds and bug hotels to create a space that puts nature first. Logs and a den form a children’s play area and the local nursery do regular bug hunts during forest school.
The park has been nicknamed Rainbow Gardens by the people who use it and this pretty much sums up the club’s belief that gardening is transformative. Not only is it healthy, mindful and sustainable, but it promotes an understanding of the fragile nature of the ecosystem.
De Beauvoir Gardeners have a strong emphasis on green issues such as improving soil protecting wildlife and promoting the use of organic and natural gardening methods.
Volunteer led, the club relies on funds raised from membership and events to continue its programme. They are always on the lookout for more members, committee support, and speakers. To find out more, visit http://www.debeauvoirgardeners.org.uk/ or follow DBG Community Garden