Spring is finally upon us, and with it, lots of opportunities to get out and about in the fresh air. Community Garden Week runs from 4th to 10th April and is a chance to celebrate community horticultural spaces that all have the same unique mission – to bring people together using the power of nature.
We are lucky to have a myriad of beautiful gardens across East Sussex, with community garden spaces on our doorsteps, no matter where we live. We’ve dug out some of the local projects, so you can get stuck into some green-fingered action this Community Garden Week!
East Hoathly & Halland Community Garden Project, Lewes
This inclusive garden is designed and managed to enable people with disabilities to take part in horticulture and gardening. The project was started in 2015 by James Hamilton-Andrews, who was experiencing a range of physical disabilities himself, and wanted to provide a space for those who had mental health issues, as well as physical disabilities.
The garden also provides vegetable boxes to the local food bank in Uckfield, to ensure a varied and healthy diet for its clients.
Rye Community Garden
Nestled on Love Lane, close to Rye town centre, lies the Rye Community Garden. The garden has been running since 2013, and has since planted several fruit and vegetable patches, built various sheds, set up a tank to collect rain water, and held many successful community events.
With an ethos of building community spirit and stronger connections between local people, Rye Community Garden is open to everyone, with volunteer sessions running every Saturday. Individuals can join in with vegetable growing and harvesting, watering, weeding, and other light gardening activities.
Peacehaven Community Garden
The Peacehaven Community Garden exists to enable members of the community to grow produce, share ideas, and learn a range of garden-related skills and knowledge. The garden has an open door policy, and members meet (subject to the weather) every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month at 11am.
Seaford Community Garden
Launched in 2007, Seaford Community Garden has transformed a once derelict site into a delightful green space for the community. Since its opening, volunteers have developed a Mediterranean corner, a wildlife zone with a pond, a children’s play area, and paved pathways to make it wheelchair and buggy friendly.
A wide variety of fruit and vegetables is grown organically, and a classroom space is on hand to hold workshops and demonstrations. The project welcomes all ages and those of all gardening experience, from novice to expert.
Gather Community Garden, Eastbourne
An Eastbourne-based community where residents come together to grow food, care for the natural world, and socialise. The project is intended to be an intergenerational community of people who enjoy gardening, and eat lovingly grown food around long tables every week. Join the Gather Community every Friday from 10am, or get involved in one of their many activities, from bee keeping to art classes.
Denton Island Community Garden, Newhaven
Denton Island Community Garden in Newhaven offers a family garden, an art garden, and a sunken community garden for green-fingered residents.
The family garden provides a space for groups to come together and enjoy activities in a safe environment. Pride of place is the summer house, which is regularly used as a calming chill out area. The art garden is a wonderful space where the community can come together to create art pieces, which are then displayed in the community centre. The beautiful sunken garden features a giant bug hotel, as well as a range of plants native to coastal areas.
Planting in the sunken garden has been chosen to include species that provide a range of sensory experiences for every member of the community to enjoy. The garden is accessible to all, including wheelchair users.
Hailsham Community Allotment
Hailsham started its allotment project in April 2019, and has since become established as the Seeds & Weeds plot. The project offers the community a place to meet new people and share advice, gardening tips and experiences, and immerse themselves in nature.
This year, the project’s members have grown potatoes, runner beans, French beans, strawberries, courgettes, and more! Their open work sessions run every Wednesday morning from 10am-12pm and are open to all.
Community Kitchen Garden, Lewes Priory
The Medieval kitchen garden is maintained by volunteers, growing what the monks would have eaten. The project is always looking for new volunteers to get involved, meeting fortnightly on Thursday afternoons (first and third of the month), 2-4pm, from March through to November.
Pevensey & Westham Community Forest Garden
The Forest Garden is about local people growing food in a sustainable way, while allowing wildlife to flourish too. Since it started in spring 2016, the garden has seen new clearings for beehives, fruit and nut trees, a new herb garden, a wildlife pond, and hosts regular community workshops.
The garden runs volunteer work sessions every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and every 4th Saturday of the month.
Do you take part in looking after one of these community gardens? We’d love to hear why you love it – drop us a comment below!