Benhill Community Nature Garden

I am really pleased to see that the Benhill Community Garden that I designed not so long ago has recently opened.

The Benhill Community Garden is in the London Borough of Southwark. It used to be an overgrown, scruffy plot of land adjacent to the Brunswick Park Primary School. The creepy sort of place you would not want to walk through alone – even if you could get into it. There had been a nature garden on the site many years before but it had been long neglected and was little more than a rubbish dump and possibly a site of illegal activities.

I worked closely with London Wildlife Trust, the London Borough of Southwark Parks and Ecology department together with the local community to develop a design that maximised community interaction with wildlife and nature. The design aimed to maximise the space to incorporate as much habitat as possible together with good access points, natural play for children, seating and social areas and peaceful places for people and nature.

I visited the garden this week and am delighted that it looks just as I hoped that it would. There is a small woodland area, meadow and a large and happily establishing pond habitat. The ornamental sensory beds are loaded up with plenty of nectar for bees and butterflies and log piles will keep invertebrates happy. The public seating and children’s natural play areas are well integrated into the garden, which should ensure that people and nature can happily coexist. It is essential now that the local community keep an eye out and discourage anti social behaviour in order for the garden to thrive and fulfill its potential to be of proper benefit to the community and wildlife. I am very much looking forward to watching the garden develop over time.

The site had plenty of wildlife potential but not much organisation or coherance

The site had plenty of wildlife potential but not much organisation or coherance

Ben Hill Community Nature Garden Strategic Masterplan

Ben Hill Community Nature Garden Strategic Masterplan

Retained and thinned woodland with a brand new boundary fence

Retained and thinned woodland with a brand new boundary fence

Compost bins, standing log piles and drought resistant nectar rich planting

Compost bins, standing log piles and drought resistant nectar rich planting

Nectar rich ornamental planting

Nectar rich ornamental planting

The good sized pond is establishing nicely

The good sized pond is establishing nicely

natural play