The Trading Shed, run by Mark and supported by Katie, is the cornerstone to our BHAS allotment community. Not only does it provide low-cost gardening staples to BHAS members, the Trading Shed and the grass common area next to it both serve as the primary gathering space for our community events held each year.
The mature roses bed alongside the Trading Shed were planted and are beautifully maintained by Mary – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who enjoys their summer display!
However, when compared with Mary’s roses, the area behind the Trading Shed and the plot next to the grass common have been significantly…less loved. Each year these areas quickly become overrun with long grass, brambles, and nettles, rendering them unusable during our community events.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been any progress made to improve the common areas in recent memory. Of course, the improvements to the compost, mulch, and wood log bays can’t go unmentioned. However, some of the other improvements made may have flown under the radar:
- A few years ago, Halina kindly donated spare railroad ties to BHAS and these were used to create the borders for Mary’s roses pictured above.
- An unused turkey pen was dismantled several years ago in an effort to tidy up the common area behind the Trading Shed.
- An extension to the Trading Shed was built using materials, again donated by Halina, to provide more storage area for community event necessities like chairs.
Before (Summer 2022)
Caption: Notice the overgrown grass, brambles, and the nettles in the back left behind the shed.
Improving the common area
Late last year, the plot to the right of the Trading Shed and the grass common area was given up and it has reverted back to the Council; the BHAS committee is beginning to explore ways this plot could be used in the future to better serve our community.
In the interim, in an effort to tidy up the common areas and create more usable space for our community, a group of volunteers have started to gather at 9:30am on Saturday mornings for a few hours. If you’ve visited the shed in the past few weeks, you may have seen us working or having a cup of tea and some divine home-baked treats!
The group has made significant progress and so far has:
- removed dozens of brambles, including the roots, and nettles behind the trading shed
- removed at least 10 bags of rubbish including old pallets, broken glass shards, roofing felt, carpet remnants, chicken wire with weeds grown through it, Victorian windows, rubber car mats, old shower doors, and reams and reams of plastic
- cut down invasive trees behind the Trading Shed
- weeded the mound of composted grass clippings, removing the non-native Spanish bluebells and several volunteer ash trees
- dismantled the vacant plot’s shed by the river (it was too close to the river bank)
- re-allocated 1 meter of space along the bank’s tree line in support of the Beverley Brook Project
- donated unused spare green bin to Barn Elms allotments
- cleared and weeded plot next to the common area which has been given up by the previous tenant
- covered weeded areas with donated cardboard to smother any new growth
- pruned neglected fruit trees and sprayed them with a tree wash
Volunteer Progress (March 2023)
Captions: Shed and vacant plot before photo; weeded brambles around plot shed and covered with cardboard; weeded compost mound behind Trading Shed; plot shed has been dismantled; and the vacant plot’s beds have been weeded and covered with cardboard.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have helped so far and to those who have and continue to donate cardboard with tape or stickers removed.
If you’d like to join us to continue the community effort to tidy up the common area, we’re meeting every Saturday (weather permitting) at 9:30am for a few hours. There’s great company, tea/coffee, and home-baked goodies as motivation.
I’ve created a BHAS Community Volunteer WhatsApp Group to better coordinate efforts; if you’d like to join the Volunteering group, please email BHAS firstname.lastname@example.org to be added.