Regent’s Park, one of London’s Royal Parks which stretches across Camden and Marylebone, is an abundant and thriving nature-scape in the heart of London.
Having spent a lot of time at Regent’s Park as a kid engaged in a wide variety of activities – everything from playing hide and seek amongst the trees and shrubbery, boating on the lake, admiring the big cats at London Zoo, to catching Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with school at the open air theatre – I was especially intrigued to have recently learned that the park now houses an allotment garden.
Opened in 2010, Regent’s Park Allotment Garden was created to inspire and train people to grow their own food. It is essentially a garden version of a showroom, as it were – educating visitors on how they can devise their own garden for the purpose of growing food. Located on the corner of the Inner Circle and Chester Road, the Allotment Garden particularly stands out on approach as a scarecrow makes it known that you are entering into a different domain of the picture-perfect Regent’s Park.
Managed in partnership with London’s food-growing network, Capital Growth, Regent’s Park Allotment Garden is a fabulous example of how anyone can plot their own food-growing garden and what is required of such a garden, whether it be in a private garden or a community garden.
The allotment garden occupies a relatively small space at Regent’s Park, but large enough to host an array of edibles. It features raised beds, where the likes of blackberries have been planted; a covered area, where you can find swiss chard growing among other edibles; and a section for flowers.
No allotment garden today is complete without a bug hotel, which is found against a wall at the Regent’s Park Allotment Garden. A large strawberry planter also shows visitors that with TLC and inspiration, you can grow a whole lot of edibles in your garden, including such sumptuous summer fruits.
Regent’s Park Allotment Garden also has a moveable wood fired clay cob-style oven for the cooking of breads and pizzas, which comes in handy for the annual Harvest Festival that is hosted at the allotment garden. A compost bin area also showcases a wide range of ways to compost garden waste that’s relevant to gardens of all different sizes.
For anyone wanting to begin the journey of growing their own food, Regent’s Park Allotment Garden is a great place to see the opportunities and possibilities that come with creating your own garden. Regent’s Park Allotment Garden effectively demonstrates the growing of fruit and vegetables in an urban environment with a focus on chemical-free techniques. The garden hosts Capital Growth food-growing training sessions as well as school visits, events and volunteering evenings throughout the year.
If you visit the Regent’s Park Allotment Garden, be sure to also check out the equally-inspirational “secret garden” that is St John’s Lodge Gardens, a few yards away from the Regent’s Park Allotment Garden.
Made as a garden “fit for meditation”, the awe-inspiring St John’s Lodge Gardens – with its leafy pergola, fountain centrepiece, and sculptures – is a delight and a pleasure to encounter even on a winter’s day with the earth beneath your feet at its muddiest.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea