Our architect Anthony Mackay gave High Kingsdown over 40 flower beds of various sizes built into the lanes. The sizes vary - many are 1m by 4m, but we have quite a few wider and longer beds, a 20x20m green and a playground integrated into the estate. Many of the borders are built in front or to the side of specific houses and there are a handful of very small beds built into the walls of houses.
The original planting scheme was based on a municipal gardening style (fashionable in the 1970's), with hardy shrubs and trees such as mahonia, cotoneaster, berberis, flowering blackcurrant, dogwood, snowberry, lonerica nitida, rowan, whitebeam, ash and birch.
Over the years keen resident gardeners have added many plants to the borders. The giant wild cherry on Coleridge Walk that the pigeons love, the crazy corkscrew hazelnut and weeping birch trees nr. no. 12 are examples of resident horticultural creativity!
In 2015 our association, with help and funding from the council's wellbeing fund, had 6 brick planters repaired and started work renovating overgrown flower beds. Since then the flowerbeds have been taken care of through our Green High Kingsdown gardening group which up until the pandemic worked with UoB student gardening clubs and residents. In 2021 in partnership with Cotham Parish Church (our local church) we started a gardening group called Green Cotham which aims to care for the beds providing regular inclusive gardening activities and sessions to the local community.
Our Association recognises the value of our communal green spaces in a densely populated area. Many local people and families don't have their own garden and just being able to get close to plants, insects and soil can be very meaningful!
Our charitable aims are to bring local people together in caring for these spaces, support wildlife, provide opportunities for fitness and mental health. We are two years through a 5 year plan to renovate beds in a style that is uniquely our own and evolving. Our aim is to create wildlife friendly gardens that flower and fruit using lots of but not exclusively native plants. Most of our green spaces are small so we are using relatively small species of shrub and perennial and annual plants to enable us to increase the flowering, fruiting and plant diversity of the beds. Our gardening style is not low maintenance - it is based on a model which sees value in the process and craft of community gardening.
If you are a resident of High Kingsdown and there is a green space near your house that you would like to care for, please get in touch!"
Weeding - our "weed-aeroboics" sessions
Most Thursdays term-time at 10.00 a.m. a bunch of us gather in the playground to weed and 'garden' the lanes.
The activity is good exercise, but also has a more serious purpose.
High Kingsdown has decided to avoid the carcinogenic weedkiller glyphosate. This ban is common practice in much of Europe - for instance glyphosate is banned in France.
We want our lanes to look clean. At the same time, we want to allow bushes and grasses and flowers to grow tall and splendid and give sustenance to insects (which ultimately sustain us). It is a compromise between the human sense of order and nature's happy chaos. Help us make this compromise this Thursday, in the playground, at 10.00 a.m.
Just show up in the playground and meet the rest of us there.