Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Nomadic Community Garden. Revisited.

I was in the area last Sunday, and not having been since my visit last year, I decided to pop in to the Nomadic Community Gardens. 

I chanced upon this extraordinary place a year ago wrote a post about it. I kept meaning to revisit but never got round to it until now.

The Gardens were set up on a large plot of land in Shoreditch, that had been bought for development. Building work will not occur for a while. In the interim, with the permission of the developers, the area has been turned into an extraordinary amenity for local residents and visitors, a sort of pop-up park and allotment complex.

There are several parts to it. There is a recreational area with tables, seating, stalls and play areas. Then there are the allotments, based on pallets, on which boxes are mounted, in which things can be grown. These can be transported easily, so that when the site is reclaimed by the developers, they can be moved on, hence “nomadic”. It's a brilliant way to utilise a vacant plot of land, if you might have to move on.

Everything is made from donated, recycled, and upcycled materials. The results are a real eye-opener, a reminder of how much our society discards. The garden has of benefitted from the high concentration of artists in the area, many of whom have contributed to building and decorating the area.

Since last year, there have been some changes and additions, as you might expect. The place looks busier, with a few more stalls, more seating, and more art.

This is the approach, under a bridge:

This is just beyond the entrance:

One of the areas for chilling out. Note the extensive use of pallets for furniture, old tyres for planters and ornaments, the cooking area sitting on a pallet, and the charming alcove-like area beyond it to the left.

The allotments are still going strong

and they seem to be doing something with biochar, although I'm not clear what that is exactly.

(More details about biochar here)

There are various other things for the local community, like this space where old clothing can be donated.

Here's another chilling out area. Note the uprights supporting the roof, made from wood with the old tyres at the bottom.

This is the bush next to it. Do you see the faces?

More old tyres, stacked up to make a totem pole.

A vulture, perhaps. A scavenger bird, made from scavenged materials.

The Gardens are often used for concerts and other events. And soon they will have a theatre. This domed wooden building was a bit of a surprise. It wasn't there when I had visited last year, and unlike the other structures, which were attractive but had a makeshift quality, this was a finely crafted construction, a wooden rotunda with a domed roof.

The theatre is the work of a talented chap called Selim, and he is building it all on his own. Here he is, working inside. He does this sort of thing for a living as well, and describes himself as a man with OCD, "obsessive construction disorder".

All the material for the construction was salvaged. Nothing was bought. The building is made entirely of wood, which makes for good acoustics. I thought the acoustics were pretty good, but I was assured that they would be even better after the oculus at the top of the dome had been covered with perspex.

The theatre should be completed in a few weeks’ time, I was told. The plan is to have an inaugural concert of operatic works. That sounds like a terrific idea. I don't like the way classical music gets poshed-up, and I think that the Nomadic Community Garden would be an excellent setting for a bit of opera. I hope I'll be able to attend.

My previous post about the Nomadic Community Gardens.
Another pop-up garden: The King's Cross Skip Garden

Nomadic Community Gardens
Fleet Street Hill
London E2 6EE
Usually open daily until about 11 pm.
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