Brixton’s green and edible barrier takes root

Beryl Campbell with MakGilchrist
Beryl Campbell, chair of the TRA, with Mak Gilchrist founder director of Edible Bus Stop

Residents of Brixton’s Southwyck House (aka the Barrier Block) joined the edible bus stop team and volunteers to put the final touches to the green makeover of the central entrance on Coldharbour Lane.

Residents committee Southwyck House at Edible Bus Stop plantingMak Gilchrist, founder of the edible bus stop was joined yesterday (31 May) by tenants and residents association stalwarts (left to right) Tina Barham, Katie Cotterell, Paulette Smith and Beryl Campbell and other volunteers to put the final touches to the planting at Southwyck House. The project “Breaking Down Barriers” is part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival and funded by the Brixton BID.

The idea germinated late last summer. Edible bus stop was approached by a leading street furniture designer Vestre who were looking for a home for a range of furniture that had been exhibited elsewhere. Edible contacted the Brixton BID and a community consultation identified the central entrance to the Barrier Block (Southwyck House) as the ideal site.

The Brixton BID funded the soft landscaping and bespoke designed tree guards for the fruit trees and the garden was refurbished with the help of residents in time to be part of last year’s Brixton Design Trail.

After the initial trial period the benches have stayed, the site has remained clean and vandal free and the residents are happy with the results.

“Now it’s spring we want to add to the momentum started last year” says Mak.

Herbs, a berry garden and Mediterranean perennial flowers for summer colour were added to the three fruit trees planted last autumn (two Cox’s Apples and a Victoria Plum).

“We’ve also got six different types of sunflower seeds to plant, as we know how much kids love them!”

The project is also supported by Lambeth council’s housing department who provided a water tap and fixed the street lighting, Pinnacle the estate concierge, who jet washed the paving, and Veolia Environment who donated the compost. Volunteers landscape gardens from Central Saint Martins rolled their sleeves up and joined in.

But Mak says “It’s all down to the residents and is a testament to them. If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t have happened.”

“We called the project at the central entrance area of Southwyck House “Breaking Down Barriers” but we want to know what the residents would like to call their entrance garden? It’s their space and we hope by feeling proud of it, and joining in with the gardening or simply keeping an eye out for it, the site will thrive and continue to be a really great space in Brixton to be respected by everyone.”

If you have suggestions for names for the garden send a message to the Edible Bus Stop via social media @ediblebusstop.

The Edible Bus Stop is a landscape architecture and design consultancy that aims to inspire a wider audience to engage in social and environmental issues.