The Lord Mayor’s Visit to Barracks Lane Community Garden

It wasn’t exactly the best weather to be showing guests around the Community Garden but students were sure nobody would be keen to hang around for too long. To be fair, the damp weather could so easily have dampened spirits, but the OSA First and Second Steps Students arrived early to Barracks Lane to put the finishing touches to cake decorations – iced fairy cakes with flower heads from plants they had grown and collected hastily between showers; a bit of furniture shifting here and there, and 11am the appointed time came around pretty quickly.

Miss Blake and Miss Dalley arrived first along with several enthusiastic 6th Form students. If the Steps students appeared reticent, it didn’t last long as our guests were keen to have the tour they had been promised. ‘I’ve come to see everything!’ Miss Blake announced and the students took it from there.

The Mayor arrived next and by then all traces of shyness had been shed, and people just chatted. From pond life to pizza ovens, soil analysis to sowing seeds, vegetable growing to memory gardens, the students were able to share what they have been doing once a week for the past couple of years. The final thing to be shared over sandwiches and cakes in the Garden Room (only when the rain became torrential!) were the lovely scrap books that students have steadily worked away at. They are a real record of their hard work and transformation of the garden.

It’s not always the most favoured activity; particularly during the winter months and the difficult days of Spring, dodging the showers, but the garden has provided them with peace and tranquillity, away from the classroom; a place to appreciate nature and work with it for the benefit of the community. We’ve been lucky too to have the voluntary and expert help of Kate and Ruth, whose enthusiasm for all things green has really rubbed off on us.

All in all a lovely event; an informal hour just spent enjoying a garden in all its beauty – students, OSA staff, Barracks Lane volunteers, on a typical British summer’s day…