The wonders of the pound shop

Pound shops have sprung up all over the place in the last ten years including a number in Greenwich borough. They may vary slightly in name, but they all sell most of their merchandise for a pound. I first became aware of them when on behalf of a local community group I organised a street party to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and was looking for large quantities of cheap party paraphernalia such as paper cups and plates.

I shop everywhere.  Having a large party to organise and with limited funds to pay for it, I was told by local officionados of the existence of the Pound Shop where all products cost a pound and to try a pound shop, which I did.

I walked along the aisles and in my travel spied a large gardening section and all its wonders. I headed straight for it. I was surprised at the broad range of gardening paraphernalia and equipment that it sold and all for a pound!  Gardening equipment too that was mostly of a similar quality to similar products sold elsewhere. Being a keen gardener who loves a bargain, I have been an avid user of the shop and a fan ever since.

Much of it comes from China. For example, you may find stacked on the pound shop’s  shelves, particularly the larger ones, a variety of types of plant labels, stakes including bamboo stakes, string, wire and netting, trowels, all sorts of pots,  planters with hooks to hang on trellis work or walls, seed propagation equipment and planters, hose equipment, fertilisers, fifteen litre bags of compost,  seeds, bulbs, bare root plants  and until recently perennial plants.  The only drawback is that like all gardening sections in shops, some of its products are plastic. But it does also have some wooden alternatives, for example, in the case of labels and string.

I’m not the only member of CABAHS to rave about the wonders of the pound shop. One member swears by the compost, which coming in 15 litre bags, she can easily manoeuvre into her car.  Anyway next time you pass a pound shop, if you haven’t already done so, pop in and have a look. You too may become a fan!

– Angela B

D-Day Celebrations

The recent D Day celebrations brought to mind once again the Second World War and the hardships which the older generation in Britain had to endure.  Not least the need to feed ourselves. The Dig for Victory Campaign played a significant role in providing people with food.

But with so few of the war time generation left alive, now is the last time we have to collect their memories and knowledge of local gardening and the Dig for Victory Campaign. If you have any memories or knowledge of local gardening then please email them to the usual cabahshortisoc@gmail.com. Similarly if you are a younger person perhaps you could ask any older relative or friend to share their wartime gardening experiences with you? We could eventually put them on the CABAHS website.

DDAY

– article submitted by member Angela B

Stockwell Street roof garden

Following Dr Benz Kotzen’s wonderful talk last year, Anna arranged a trip on 5 June 2019, to see the roof gardens on Greenwich University’s School of Architecture and Construction building on Stockwell Street. Here is a picture of the meadow area on the roof.

Stockwell Street building, roof garden June 2019

Chelsea bits & pieces

Plant of the Year at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show was this unassuming but rather pretty Sedum ‘Atlantis’.

Sedum takesimense Atlantis

Kathy had a great week volunteering at the Show, and was able to have a quick word with Nick Bailey as he was passing by and remind him he is coming to talk to CABAHS for our November meeting. I don’t suppose it was top of his To Do list that day but he was very kind about it!

Kathy at Chelsea

I expect everyone has been following the BBC coverage of Chelsea – but they didn’t cover very many of the trade stands and some had really fabulous planting.  Here’s a pic to give you all “Urn Envy”…

Urns

Member Angela B has submitted this article about her concerns for the environment and her ideas on how gardening, even in flats, can help:

“The Extinction Rebellion demonstration over the Easter Weekend has dramatically brought to the public’s attention once again the problem of Global Warming and the abuse of the planet by humans. Gardening, which we keen gardeners all do for pleasure, can make a small but significant contribution to mitigating these effects.

Take one example: pollution. It is a major problem in London, including in Greenwich, parts of which are above the legal limits.  Plants take in carbon dioxide and secrete oxygen, which helps purify the air. Greenwich residents should be encouraged to garden and plant as many pollution-absorbing plants as possible.

Unfortunately, there is an increasing shortage locally of gardening space. Many residents have paved their front gardens to provide space for parking their cars. Also many back gardens are now astroturfed or covered in decking which does not help. Nor has Greenwich Council’s policy of building high rise flats in the borough rather than houses with gardens.  And what few of the latter are built usually have small gardens.  For example, many thousands of flats have already been built in the borough and many thousands more are planned for the Thames Riverside site between the Thames Barrier and the Yacht Club and around Woolwich Town Centre.

Given this situation, one solution if gardening is to be encouraged locally, is for blocks of flats to become a focus of balcony gardening in the borough. Greenwich Council and its Planning Department is apparently in the process of declaring a climate emergency. That being the case they should encourage  developers to build all flats with large wide balconies which would allow for a significant amount of gardening.  Also the Council might like to encourage the managing agents of blocks of flats to set up residents gardening clubs.

Flat dwellers are already showing an interest in gardening as it has become very fashionable to grow indoor plants, especially succulents. So if they were provided with sizable balconies they are very likely to start growing other plants as well.

If any of you are interested in promoting these ideas. Perhaps you could spread the word and if you come into contact with Greenwich Council Councillors or staff you might bring up the subject of promoting gardening in flats.”

Additional thought: Perhaps we should copy Stefano Boeri’s fantastic apartment blocks in Milan which won many awards when it was built in 2014.  Here is Bosco verticale, the ultimate in balcony gardening!

Milan flats 1

Milan flat vertical forest