How Neighbours got to know each other with Lend and Tend.

I’ve only just begun to get to know my neighbors, and it's via garden sharing with Lend and Tend. I've discovered my area, Croydon isn’t just all consumerism, traffic jams and Street Food in steel containers (with an apparent lack of recycling facilities!) when I discovered the sun shining and dragonflies darting across the river Wandle, where I met a whole lot of inspirational people at The Croydon Environmental Festival.

The environmentalists I met were from big organisations and even individuals had bigger ideas of their own on personal missions to make the world a better place.

Stallholders included neighbourhood organisation Big Local Broad GreenThe Rainforest Saver, Fair Trade and Friends of the Earth; promoting the Great British Bee Count.

The most impressive environmentalist I met, however, wasn't an organisation but a 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!

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.

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 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 Kake heard about it, signed up and wanted a neighbour to start gardening straight away. As, however a little frustratingly, Kake signed up last year and 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. So 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!

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).

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).

Who knew? Could you have a neighbour like Andrea (R) around the corner to Garden Share with?

Who knew? Could you have a neighbour like Andrea (R) around the corner to Garden Share with?

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 is simply sharing Lend and Tend posts and tweets on social media. 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.