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Our Favourite Gardening Tasks

By May 26, 2024No Comments

Our Favourite Gardening Tasks


Team Photo - Matt Square

Read about our impact at Lucy Brown House not simply on a garden, but on the community who it’s connected to.

This case study is here to guide our future work, so if you have any thoughts on what we can do better, please do reach out to 

If you’d like a Team Volunteering day at Lucy Brown House after reading the below, then get in touch here.

Lucy Brown House, Elderly Housing

Address: 27 Park St, London SE1 9EG.
10 minutes’ walk from Blackfriars or London Bridge stations. Right behind Borough market.

Corporate Gardening Location - Lucy Brown House

Capacity for 24 volunteers

Lucy Brown House is home to 36 elderly and some vulnerable residents. Due to recent cuts to council funding the community garden – which has so much promise – has been overlooked for years. So much so, the residents barely use this haven themselves.

We’re creating the beautiful secret sanctuary the residents deserve and improve its value to the local green environment by planting more for pollinators. We also host an evening get together with the residents after our employee volunteering days here. This is the pilot location to our Evergreen Gardening programme – getting in Corporate Volunteer Groups to fund our resident and community engagement work at blocks of sheltered housing blocks and their gardens across London.

Our Impact in the garden:

First steps

If only we’d taken more ‘before-photos’! Lucy Brown House’s garden was completely neglected. Grass was growing through the cracks in the paving stones to knee heights. Two field maple trees had died. Ivy had swallowed up most of the garden. We’ve tackled this neglected state of the garden as follows:

  • First making paths accessible – cutting back on overgrown bushes and shrubs.
    • We replanted an overgrown and very ‘leggy’ (i.e. woody) lavender with a sedum-filled and drought-resistant rock garden.
  • “Intention” – this is the first thing we aim for when we tackle enormous new projects; make it looks like there’s a plan.
    • My favourite and very mindful way of doing this is by ‘raising the canopy.’ The canopy of a forest is the leaves above you. It begins as low down as those leaves reach. You can raise the canopy of a shrub, or group of shrubs to the same level creating some straight lines in the garden. This creates a sense of order and uniformity.
  • Cutting down two very dead field maple trees.
      • “But dead wood is great for a garden,” you cry out loud. You’ve seen the documentary about fungi and how they need dead wood to feed off and then improve the soil. We’ve created little ‘bug hotels’ or dead hedges around the site, both as sanctuary for the wintering insects on site, and as a circular way to reuse our waste.

Reimagining a new community garden

  • Planting in daffodils, alliums and other bulbs for some spring colour
  • Adding colour Skimmia and Hebe plants to the border – these are purple (as per the residents’ requests) but will also have some height, meaning that the residents (read: their windows) will have some privacy in the coming years.
  • Dividing Arum Lily plant stock. Dividing plant material is free, (Simply put, chop a spade right through the middle of Arum Lilies et voila! Two plants.)
  • Putting in drought tolerant, pollinator-friendly, and/or fragrant herbs (think sage, rosemary, thyme) which residents can use and enjoy the presence of.

Our Impact in the community:

Meet-n-Greets (n-Parties) with the residents of Lucy Brown House.
A big thank you for all our Team Employee Volunteers for making this happen!

  • Working towards having a regular pool of volunteers to attend a social Lucy Brown House (LBH) upper club.
  • After the gardening sessions we socialise with the residents of LBH, with tea, coffee, cake… and as the night draws on G&Ts appear also.
  • Some of the residents are absolutely vicious at the pool table – I’m sure a few of us been hustled by them(!) We must have fallen for the cardinal rule of ‘Don’t be judgmental, be curious’ about other people.
    • With wonderful and playful residents, pool table, table-tennis, piano, & board games it’s a fun end to our volunteering sessions at LBH.

Garden Buddy Scheme

  • We run a Garden Buddy Scheme at LBH – pairing up volunteers with those residents who, say, due to back problems or poor eyesight, would like some help looking after their own garden.
    • Our team volunteers often report back that this is the most rewarding part of their volunteering day with us. With this task you are aware who individually you are helping, or aware you’re helping a specific someone. Which, let’s face it, is always a rewarding thing to do.

We are looking for teams of Employee Volunteers Gardeners who can come and continue the work at Lucy Brown House– clearly a lot of people power required to get the process started!

If you’d like your volunteer team to get stuck in at Lucy Brown House, please email

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We are a London-based social enterprise. All profits are re-invested in the business and in the community green spaces we support.

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