I’ve only just begun to get to know my neighbors through garden sharing with Lend and Tend and have found that Croydon isn’t just all about consumerism, traffic jams and Street Food in steel containers (with an apparent lack of recycling facilities!), but discovered the sun shining and dragon flies darting across the river Wandle where I met a whole lot of inspirational people at The Croydon Environmental Festival; Environmentalists from big organisations and individuals with even bigger ideas of their own on personal missions to make the world a better place.

Stallholders included the new neighbourhood organisation Big Local Broad Green, The Rainforest Saver, treats from Fair Trade and Friends of the Earth who were promoting the Great British Bee Count and Friends of the Earth are also organising a free screening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental documentary BEFORE THE FLOOD which happens on Wednesday 5th July 2017 at 7.30pm at local happening joint Matthews Yard

The most impressive environmentalist I met, however, was Kayleigh Jolliffe who at only 14 years old, was selling apple cake and an apple cookbook to fundraise a trip travel to volunteer in Malawi in 2018. Please check out her funding page to support this inspirational young woman!

Park, Fete, Table, Recipes, Apple Cake, Fundraising
I had to tell Kayleigh’s neighbours, to keep their mitts off the apple cake! As proceeds are raising money for her trip to volunteer in Malawi.

Along with this band of amazing neighbourhood environmentalists, I, armed only with free seeds and a Lend and Tend banner, wanted to try and find out about what was going on in the community from my neighbours at the spruced-up park.  So as I spruiked about the benefits of garden sharing, I got to do some Patch-Matching and get Lend and Tend Garden Lenders and Tenders garden sharing in the area.

You may not have had a post from me in some time, but I can reassure you, Lend and Tend is growing! For every one person who signs up in one street, another person signs up in another neighbourhood, or another city, another country even and this is brilliant, but it’s my mission to Patch-Match people in the borough, like Kake (@Croydn pictured below).

Kake came over to chat all things garden sharing and about what was happening in the neighbourhood. Kake was so excited about Lend and Tend, that when they heard about it signed up and wanted a neighbour to start gardening straight away. As, however a little frustratingly, Kake had been waiting since last spring for a Patch-Match.

It is from the bottom of my heart, that I’d like to thank everyone like Kake who has signed up to Lend and Tend so far and has stuck with me and my mission to get people garden sharing. I’d like to reassure everyone who has not yet found a Patch-Match that I am committed to Patch-Matching all existing Garden Lenders to Garden Tenders, as well as inviting new members, however, I’m going to need you and your neighbours’ help.

A wonderful thing happened that day, and not an hour after meeting Kake, I met Andrea after taking about windowsill gardening and it turned out: Andrea was Kake’s perfect Patch-Match and also Kake’s neighbour! The pair are now currently planning their garden sharing project and the great thing is, as they’re neighbours, they live only 5 minutes away from each other!

Lend and Tend at Croydon Environmental Festival
Who knew? Could you have a neighbour like Andrea (R) around the corner to Garden Share with?
Bandstand selfie.
Lady luck and the sun shone for a happy Patch-Match for Kake (L). This pic happens moments before Kake finds Garden Tender, neighbour, Andrea (R).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if you’re with me on the garden sharing mission, please bear with me. I’m doing all I can to spread the word, but like I said, I’m going to need a little help from my friends and neighbours.

Here are some things you can do to spread the word and help me, help you, get Patch-Matched:

Garden Lenders

To help me, help you find someone to Tend to your garden, I’m happy to send to a flyer to print out, or even post one to go in your window. I can send leaflets for you to give to friends, neighbours or even put on community notice boards in coffee shops, libraries or shops. Help me spread the word!

Garden Tenders

Again, to help me, help you find a garden to Tend to, I’m happy to send you a flyer to print out, or even post you some flyers for you to give to friends, neighbours or even put on community notice boards in coffee shops, libraries or shops. You guessed it, I need your help to spread the word too!

Or if you’ve spotted a Neighbours untended garden and you’ve been dreaming of doing something about it, I could also send you an introductory letter to post through the garden owner’s letterbox, introducing them to Lend and Tend.

The main way you can help takes the least amount of effort and it is simply sharing Lend and Tend posts and tweets on social media and if you ARE a whizz with a smartphone; Please take a little video of your garden.  It doesn’t have to be any more than 20 seconds and I can post it on our social media pages and if you want to Tend to a garden, send me a little video introducing yourself.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to take Lend and Tend to the #GreatGetTogether on Sunday 18th June with The Bankside Open Trust. They’re an environmental charity bringing people together to manage, improve and transform open spaces in central London. It’s a street party for all the family outside to commemorate the memory of Jo Cox and Jo famously said:

“We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

What a wonderful woman and so true and what a great excuse to get to know your neighbours. So, if you’re near SE1 on Sunday, do come along to the Great Get Together at Redcross Gardens, Redcross Way SE1 and come find me.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if you were able to get to know a neighbour you’d never have otherwise met? And isn’t the possibility of garden sharing even lovelier.

 

Since it’s a day for being slushy, I want to send you all a special Lend and Tend Valentine’s message to tell you all how much I really appreciate your support and encouragement on the garden sharing journey so far.

If you haven’t thought about garden sharing or gardening at all yet this year, as it’s been frighteningly cold, I don’t blame you for choosing indoors. I admit, my last attempt at gardening was meant to be a simple job: burying kitchen scraps to compost but boy, burying that Bokashi-ed kitchen waste; digging into the frozen mud, was well, literally, really hard. I’m sure the worms loved it and my seedlings will be so happy to be in that worm-y churned up rich black soil come spring time and treating the ground this way is so worth it. It means having something to eat fresh from the garden all year and being able to bring bunches of veg to friends instead of garage flowers. It’s totally possible, I promise.

If you wish you had a garden, you could be gardening in a garden near you this summer.

We’ve more people signing up new gardens each week.

So, despite all of the seasonal and global doom and gloom, I wanted to tell you all how wonderful you are. For saying hello after seeing me speak on Q&A panels, for coming to meet me for a chat in a new neighbourhood for showing your support on social media and best of all, if you’ve signed up to either Lend your garden or Tend to someone else’s: Thank you.

Lend and Tend is still very new and I am doing my best to tell the world about you lovely sharers so that

a). more people sign up and submit gardens to Lend so there are more available to garden

b). so more people sign up to Tend gardens so that those of you who have kindly submit your gardens to be shared can find a garden a Tender and

c). I truly believe that garden sharing is a way to potentially form unlikely friendships, get to know our neighbours, discover more about our communities and lead healthier, calmer and possibly less stressed lives.

PatchMatching; matching a garden a Tender to Lender could mean finding new friends, or just a thought, it has been suggested, but playing the Cilla Black of garden sharing may help someone out there find romance, who knows? I’d love to report back on this one year.

I really believe we can potentially form new friendships from garden sharing, help welcome people new into our neighbourhoods or meet people who’ve perhaps been around all along.

The best thing is, there’s the ability to grow our own food and share that too. Share recipes from far and wide or ones passed down through generations, getting some gardening tips too.  Lend and Tend is not just about sharing garden space; getting one if you haven’t got one, or giving one away you can’t use, it’s about sharing a whole lot more.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you and please keep sharing the love, the smiles that gardening brings, let’s lend a hand where we can. Let’s be more tender to each other.

As the saying goes ‘Love thy neighbour’ and let’s share gardens.

Happy Valentines,

Joyce.

XOXOX

Ahh! Sun, sea, sand, sharing gardens and shaking up the apple cart. What a surprising summer it has been. Hopefully it stays so I can do all the garden jobs that need doing, but whilst we’re enjoying the warm balmy evenings with tropical humidity the autumn can keep away.

Our driving June rain soaked weeds and brambles making them particularly pesky to deal with so being followed by a drier July, it ensured anything you did want to grow, didn’t. Unless you gave it round the clock watering. Still I’m looking forward to nicely watered plump apples.

Summer surprises!

Every time that I garden, there is so much to discover; tiny beautiful bugs I’ve never seen before, or find new varieties of plant that aren’t weeds and I’m learning new tips all the time.

This summer, I transplanted last years surviving Strawberry plants out of their balcony containers into solid ground in my shared garden. To my surprise, noticed they quickly grew rocketing little runners. These runners, ‘stolons’, shoot out from the main plant to continuously propagate it. With each visit to my strawberry patch, Simone Biles-like vines, seemed to have taken even further long running jumps into the air to land perfectly enough to plant a new base firmly into the ground, growing new plants from a new node.

I named my fruits after my new favourite athlete.

As strawberries do survive after the end of summer, keep them out at the end of the season, let them run away with you. Or at least to their borders, giving them a little trim if they seem to be wrestling other plants. Growing them like this saves money and creates about 4-5 new plants to every original one. Also pack straw around the base of plants to cloak them from the cold. Then watch them multiply in the new season.

They say that things don’t happen overnight, but this summer, it did. What a difference a day makes, eh? Wherever you stand, Brexit is being rolled out which makes me think, it’s even more important to consider how we share.

Sharing in our communities helps us be kind to the environment, makes our stuff more useful as well as utilising our space, whilst helping us act more kindly to each other too.

We don’t currently know how the enormous change will truly affect our day to day lives, like the cost of imported produce; but any gardener will tell you how much more value to the soul and your suppers, growing your own gives.

So if you’re waiting for an allotment or just want to start growing your own, why not start by shaking up the apple cart in your neighbourhood and start by offering to share a neighbours’ garden; Offer to help with their maintenance. We can challenge the status quo, we don’t need to wait for years for allotments if we got along in our communities in a different way.

Sharing gardens could also better knit our neighbourhoods, bringing together people of different ages and various cultural backgrounds.

Gardening can help us interact with something real, learn from each other and in our current society we’ve a need for transformation.

Bringing the beach to Sw3! 

Whilst I’m on my mission to get the world garden sharing, I’m getting lots of great tips on how to be a better gardener.

Here’s a novel idea.

One of our favourite summer pastimes in Britain is hitting the beach. Whether it’s wet weather in Weston Super Mare or or a washed out weekend in Wigan, we all love the quintessential British seaside don’t we?

So next time, bring back a souvenir for the garden. Sophie and Orlando from Streatham did.

They brought home a bag full of seaweed and a few buckets of sand. It’s great for the garden. Seaweed provides the ground with a nutritious protective mulch and not only when it dries does it make it tough terrain for slugs to traverse, the salt in it repels them too. You’ll be able to relive those summer memories digging in the tang of well rotted seaweed which is so good for the ground.

The buckets of sand they brought home is great for gladioli! Happiest in well-drained soil, these blooms  still do well in claggy rocky London soil if planted within a pocket of sand or gravel to help with drainage.

Since coming home after the summer, Sophie and Orlando are keen to make a start on their garden, but would love to share it with someone interested in helping them tend to it.

Here’s their garden!

The great thing is there are tons of gardens like this one in London just waiting to be gardened.

So for the back to school season, turn a new leaf and garden share with Lend and Tend.

What’s Happening in a Garden Near You, This Summer?

Keep up to date with us on Twitter @LendandTend to find out where we’ll be in a garden near you this summer.

Well hello there from the 10th floor of an NCP carpark. I’ve been chatting to Lend and Tend’s coolest garden Lender, who’s Lending a new (but not new) Rooftop Garden to be Tended. As well as getting private gardens Patch Matched, Lend & Tend is also starting to help make urban sharable spaces more accessible, too. 

It has been a surprising season, hasn’t it? What with the weather! During this time of year one can never underestimate the need for a brolly, sunglasses and extra layers whilst wearing shorts all at the same time. 

Our unpredictable weather worried me in January when our plum tree lined streets were fully in bloom, battling against alternating balmy and blowy days in February, but whilst the weather didn’t know what to do with itself, Mother Nature did and I’m pleased to say, the local plum trees are thriving in the sunshine of our inevitable and always surprising spring.

It’s not only Mother nature who’s been springing in to action, things are sprouting up all over the place with Lend & Tend,  new garden owners and garden Tenders are popping up, all the way down from Sheffield to Streatham and if you’ve signed up and are waiting to be Patch-Matched still, thank you for your patience. As soon as people hear about Lend & Tend both garden Lenders and Tenders are signing up and it’s only a matter of time until we can Patch-Match you all. 

Speaking of Streatham I was warmly welcomed to visit a Lender’s garden recently, you know the sort, little bit of a patch at the front and a nice little oasis through the kitchen at the rear. If you’ve always wished you had a garden, you too could be a garden Tender who could help a local garden owner and grow in a garden like this? Or maybe you’ve got a garden space like it that needs some time and love and you could Lend it?

Since I last wrote to you all I was invited to do a talk at the RSA about Lend & Tend and how it fits in to the sharing marketplace; how Lend & Tend will help not only individuals with gardening but how it can help communities get together.

Gardened gardens knit neighbourhoods!

You can find out what else happened that evening by checking out their post on Storyfy

Soon after, I was invited to talk on Green Croydon a podcast presented by Andrew Dickinson and then very excitingly, a listener, hard at work building

Croydon’s hippest location for the Summer; a rooftop cinema, called in and offered to Lend a simply amazing space.

This Lender has an entire car park rooftop garden for Tenders to play on this summer.

The Lost Format Society, is back again this Summer; like cut off shorts and perfumes that smell like lemons and sandy beaches, and they’re bringing back the open-air cinema to Croydon again.

Last year it was brilliant! Again the films will be screened on a massive CRT themed TV screen, reminiscent of one that would’ve been seen in the arms of looters in the 2011 riots.

However with the return of this cinema, it’s definitely shaping up to be a different place to when it was a Croydon, maligned for it’s riots. This Transformation town is really transforming, what with trendy Box Park opening soon and more community activity than a petri dish; Croydon is coming good, it’s growing and the people of the town are putting their best feet forward and I’m pleased to say more importantly pulling their green fingers out and inspiring others to do so, too.

So anyone who’d like to rooftop garden on what will be an exciting community space; visitors and locals to croydon, come and enjoy South London’s biggest rooftop garden terrace before the sun goes down and the curtains go up for movie time.

Sunday gardening, relaxing on the terrace, sounds lovely doesn’t it?

Now, I’m not the only one who’s been busy on a roof; in Croydon, Mr Urban Edible Gardening, Esiah Levy has been on the rooftop of Bernard Weatherill house, been sharing his fruitful gardening wisdom. Esiah’s has recently transformed Croydon council’s office roof top into an edible garden.

Now a challenge: The Lost Format Society have offered to Lend the rooftop as a shared garden space, but there’s less than a week to get the rooftop of the old Fairfield Halls NCP carpark ready looking like it has the potential to be a beautiful and useable and most importantly of all, enjoyable garden space for people to relax in and begin growing in.

Well it’s a good thing then, that Esiah met the challenge of creating from scratch, 24 gardens in 24 hours for a Houzz-Marks and Spencer’s collaboration.

No whilst Esiah is planning the planting and The Lost Format folks get some planters banged together, I’m going to help source soil, but most of all I want to get the place used by gardeners and people who want to spend time outside.

So if you’d like to Lend & Tend this summer and garden on the coolest rooftop garden in South London, please sign up to Tend on the Lend & Tend website.

If you want to Tend to a garden anywhere else then you may be in luck as we’ve new gardens being added daily.

If you know people who can’t garden/won’t garden or just have a garden and can’t, tell them to submit their garden to Lend & Tend and Lend it to someone to enjoy, grow pretty things or even edibles to get some garden chores done.

What ever you do this summer, please don’t let gardens go to waste, particularly in London where space is special. Not when there are 1000’s desperate to have allotment space or a home that has room to grow.

Lend & Tend. Tell your friends! 

Now I’m off to read up on No, Dig gardening. You dig?! I dig. Well I won’t be, that’s the point and you needn’t either.

Catch you soon!

x Joyce and Gnorman the Lend and Tend Gnome

Gardening on the stage and how it affects how we behave

I recently read J.G Ballard’s High Rise and thought Ned Beauman‘s foreword brilliantly struck a chord with a new one-woman play by Lucy Grace called Garden and the lead role Lucy plays in it (based on her own experiences of living in the city); the play unfurls with Lucy’s behavior getting gradually stranger in the environment of her own high-rise flat albeit on the 3rd floor without a garden and how it affects her mental health.

Beauman writes, “Does the place you live really change the way you behave? A 2007 meta-study by Robert Gifford concluded that ‘children who live in high rises have, on average more behavioural problems’. Residents in high-rises probably have fewer friendships in the building, and certainly help each other less”. In Ballard’s High-Rise, protagonist Laing muses; ‘life in the high-rise [began] to resemble the world outside…[with the] same ruthlessness and aggressions concealed within a set of polite conventions’.

Things do get a little out of hand in High-Rise to say the least and it’s a disturbing and thrilling fun read. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t read it, but the story does have quirks that tie in with Lucy’s character and plight in Garden. High-Rise too, ‘externalises’ where ‘we wage quiet wars with fake smiles, or just repress and fantasise’.

If only there was a way that people like us; me, you and the 1000’s of others who live in cities like London, like Lucy in Garden the play, could combat our shut off existences and deal with living in our boxy, but necessary quarters; high-rises, converted in to flats-flats, split-level maisonettes, semi-detached, often cramped and overshared existences that drive us to distraction.

Well, there’s Lend & Tend. Where willing garden owners who perhaps need some garden help, can lend their gardens to the garden-less.

So if you’ve no garden? No problem, There’s no need go home and shut the door of your flat behind you. There could be a potentially beautiful space right under your nose that could certainly use the hands and green fingers of a local Lend and Tend, Tender; if that’s you, to get it in back into shape: getting you outside in the fresh air, in a garden, possibly growing healthy and delicious things to eat too, with any luck all whilst being mindful of your own mental well-being.

I hope that via the medium of gardening and garden appreciation, Lend and Tend also becomes a way of befriending people in our communities; our neighbours, people who we’d perhaps never otherwise meet, people that we could have unexpected friendships with, people like the older members of our society who we need to look out for, who much like the man in the John Lewis Christmas ‘Man on the Moon’ ad, often live just as shut off lives as us busy younger people like Lucy in her play Garden.

So please share lendandtend.com with your neighbors and colleagues, family and friends and help get both young and old appreicating gardens again. 

If you want to find out more about seeing Lucy Grace’s wonderful show Garden later this Spring, keep an eye on the Greenwich Theatre, London page.

Red Head, Bushes,
Gardening for good mental health is focus of Edinburgh Fringe play, Lucy Grace says gardening helped her with her depression and anxiety.

A little birdy also tells me High-Rise is soon to have its UK feature-film release, however books are always far superior in my opinion and you can read them in the garden.

Sky bookcover flat highrise tower brutalist brutal
My favorite cover of J G Ballard’s, High Rise. Albeit a little rain beaten from reading outside.

Hello friends! Welcome to the newest garden sharing website, Lend and Tend

We’re very pleased to introduce you to the newest garden sharing website, Lend and Tend; for people who don’t have a garden and wished they did and people who wished they didn’t have to garden and need some help, it’s finally here!

For all of you that have been so patiently keeping up to date with the progress of Lend and Tend via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr; it brings us no greater pleasure to say it has launched.

We’re now accepting Lenders; people who have garden to spare, but more importantly  we need more Tenders; people who wish to have a garden. We know you’re out there! Scroll down the homepage and have a look at the Map to see what’s available, where and don’t forget to please share, share, share.

So as the site is still just the tender age of ONE WEEK OLD and just like any newborn, it’s kept us up late into the night but we’re especially happy that it is here. What we’d really like to know is, what do you think? 

There may still be kinks to iron or bits to weed out, but the website is functional and ready for you to use! 

Joyce,  jumped in at the deep-end and spoke at her first public speaking engagement last week and shared with some of you, the Lend and Tend journey so far at Croydon Tech City’s event at Project B. About 100 faces were in the audience and really took to the idea of getting the world gardening! So to those of you who came, thank you for being such a supportive audience.

We’re also so grateful to the huge amounts of you who’ve reached out and shared details about Lend and Tend with your nearest and dearest already, this is the feedback we’ve seen so far…

“…this would be such a good scheme [for my mum] to get involved with, she can’t manage her garden like she used to, the garden’s going to waste!” 

“…someone wants to garden my garden? When we don’t want to! This is a win-win situation!” 

“ My local allotment has a 6 year waiting list, plus it’s 20 minutes away. I’m glad I can garden without the wait and it’s on my road! 

“I get my gardened garden and maybes some tomatoes, brilliant!”

Hopefully you’ll be hearing more happy stories to come. 

Lend and Tend is currently operating on a donation basis whilst it’s in it’s early stages.

So if you’re interested in Lending your garden or Tending to a garden near you and haven’t yet signed up, please do! Spring is coming and sowing season is upon us for summer vegetables and bright beautiful June blooms, so get Tending if this is something you’ve always wanted to do.

Most importantly, we want Lend and Tend to be as accessible to as many of you who need it as possible. So honestly, pay what you can to get a Patch-Match if you dream of having a garden or allotment to get somewhere to grow, right under your nose. Equally if your garden is is going to waste, then please sign up and let us know your garden space is free. You could make someone very happy as well as having the joy of a loved green garden outside your window. 

So to help us achieve that,

For now though, thank you so much for your support and feedback when it was needed the most, we’d really appreciate if you could keep telling as many people as you can about Lend and Tend and how it could help them, but most of all thank you for simply offering to stay in touch. 

Next time: When Mum says: ‘Don’t eat food off the floor!’ Tell her that an accidental patio salad could be the best way to tackle weeds AND get your 5-a-day?’. 

Until then, No garden? No problem and if you can’t garden? Find someone who can! 

-Lend and Tend. 

Best wishes to you, 

Joyce and Gnorman, the Lend and Tend garden gnome xx