Penarth’s Green Spaces
Where Communities are Growing
Have you taken a walk recently through the Zig Zag path and noticed the beginnings of an orchard, and the re-discovery of a stream? Have you taken a stroll through The Kymin, to experience stepping out into the wild on our doorstep? Perhaps you’ve noticed the electric blue of the chicory in the raised beds, what a wonder.
Perhaps you’ve popped along to Victoria Square, and enjoyed the enthusiasm of the group for the wildlife there, making homes in the hibernacula, or tasting some herbs from the raised beds, the lemon balm and its pungency?
Perhaps you’ve noticed the lone woman tending to the trees with water at Belle Vue? Perhaps you’ve happened upon the brimming wildlife garden tucked away in a corner in Stanwell Crescent – a true demonstration of the capacity of neighbours to come together to create something wonderful, for each other and the community.
There’s much to notice here. If you listen, you can still hear the living world’s song of summer that became so loud in that moment in lockdown, when the cars became quiet, and we had our daily walk.
Does it seem extraordinary that in a town that’s just a mile across we have twenty-three parks? And that in fifteen of those parks there are groups taking part in community growing?
Planting orchards, a tiny food forest, and public art in the Arcot Triangle. Scything, taking care of trees, (over 180 of them!), growing tomatoes with little ones, so that they may feel the juice burst in their tiny mouths. And enjoying conversation together, deepening relationships over time. What abundance we have here in our town. What a community!
All this activity is underpinned by a generous amount of care, for the plants and wildlife, but also for the people involved in these projects. There’s sharing, with seed and crop swaps, online groups where knowledge and skills are offered with kindness, keen volunteers, willing to offer gifts of time, and often trees, plants, and cake to our community.
What we find on examination of our town is an upswelling of local people getting together around their community spaces, reclaiming the land, taking care and stewardship as another new normal.
When GPG’s ‘Penarth Growing Community’ project started in January 2020, as a local level solution and response which encourages climate action, enjoyment of local food and works to increase biodiversity, there was very little community growing. Then Friends of Victoria Square got going, and the Tree Forum got growing, and the new planters in Belle Vue got built, and Golden Gates got golden again. The raised beds at West House came alive with the chatter of gardeners, while the fruit yield grows on the espalier trees as each season passes.
What could be next? Crab apples in Cogan Rec? A Friends group at The Dingle? What green space do you have close to you where you can see potential? Who could you meet for a happenstance conversation that brings joy and connection, tying you a bit more deeply to this place we call home?
As a town, this is our contribution to action on climate change and biodiversity loss. It’s also weaving the threads of the connections between us, growing relationships, growing love, and growing wellbeing – the health benefits of being out in the open air enjoying green space are well documented. What community growing group might you get involved with? How could you contribute to this growing community?
You can view all the green spaces where communities are growing on the Penarth Green Spaces map, which you can find here.
Get in touch with Sally at email@example.com if you’d like to get involved!