The Skip Garden – A very different sort of garden

We were in England for a couple of weeks recently – hence the curious absence of regular Sunday posts on this Journal. While there we spent a day with an old friend of J’s wandering around a part of London that until recently anyone with any sense of self preservation would have avoided like the plague. The area north of the King’s Cross rail terminal has for generations been a pretty dangerous area, replete with dubious characters, dark and shadowy corners, and red lights burning well into the night. However, property values in London are now so high that even this iniquitous area has fallen to the whiles of the developers and is being furiously “gentrified”. There are very smart, multi-million pound apartment blocks going up all around, small parks, a regenerated canal-side, wine bars even and a general sense of prosperity today. It’s actually quite attractive these days.

In the middle of all this change is The Skip Garden.

The Skip Garden describes itself as “A green oasis in the middle of the King’s Cross development – This sustainable urban garden really is a charming oasis with wild flowers, vegetables and herbs, beehives and chicken coops. What started as a moveable vegetable garden built in skips, has grown into a community project that provides all kinds of opportunities for local young people. Everything is built using recycled materials – mostly from the construction sites – and more than a thousand hands have come together to create the garden. This is a community effort in every sense and the project brings together people of all ages and backgrounds.”

It’s a splendid venture.

The window-frame greenhouse, surrounded by multi-million pound apartments for the rich

For North Americans, a “skip” is one of those big steel dumpsters that arrives and departs on the back of a truck and is used to remove rubble from a building site. The garden contains several of these things which have been outfitted with wooden steps to enable you to get in and out as well as a raised, waist-high planting/growing bed around the periphery. One skip has even been set out as a fruit garden with trees and bushes and a handy seat to sit in the shade.

There are also a couple of greenhouses – one made for old timber beams and plastic sheeting while the other is a three-storey affair constructed for old window frames.

The whole garden can be be packed up on trucks and moved to a new site when the developers get around to budding on its current location. In fact it has already moved more than once.

(Quote): When people think of skips they think of construction, building and dirt. We didn’t. We thought less rubble and more rhubarb. That’s why we started using skips to farm food that, like us, is locally grown. Freshly baked scones, cakes, teas and coffees and healthy seasonal lunches including super salads and a daily special are prepared daily by our team of expert veggie chefs and volunteers. Afternoon teas, brunch and group lunches can also be booked to be enjoyed amongst the lettuce leaves and blossom trees or in one of our unique indoor spaces.

A really splendid and innovative concept.

My companions enter the Skip Garden

One of the skips with newly planted seedlings in the raised beds

The fruit garden in a skip

Information about the window-frame greenhouse

The Glasshouse Lantern made from old window frames

The second greenhouse constructed from old beams and plastic sheeting