Almost fifty years ago, as crumbling terraces were being cleared, a local resident wondered if this derelict wasteland could become a garden. Jamie McCullough set about mobilising the local community to make the dream a reality. Westminster City Council, owners of the land at that time, agreed for it to be a garden ‘meanwhile’, until they could develop other plans.
The name stuck, the Gardens grew and prospered. Today, Meanwhile Gardens is run by a committee of local volunteers, with a small dedicated staff team and a growing team of volunteers. It is still first and foremost a Garden, because there is even less local public green space than when it was first created.
Meanwhile Gardens provides a wonderful green oasis in this densely populated inner-city area. The gardens offer a diverse range of habitats and environments aimed to attract people with a wide range of interests. Facilities within the Gardens include a free drop in centre, The Playhut, for children under six and their carers, a free skatebowl, play structures, a range of festivals and outdoor events, as well as a large pond, a Wildlife Garden and Moroccan Garden.
Nature lovers can enjoy mixed borders and wooded areas; there are hundreds of trees, creating valuable shady areas. Native species include Oak, Mountain Ash, Willow, Alder and Beech. There are also more unusual species such as Walnut, Tree of Heaven, Dawn Redwood and Loquat.
Many school children visit our large pond and are excited by the wealth of pond-life. Current inhabitants include newts, fish, toads, dragonflies, and damselflies. The pond is also home to a population of water birds such as Moorhens and Mallards and is also visited by rarer species including Grey Wagtail and Water-rail. The pond is planted with ornamental and native species including small Bulrushes, Yellow Flag Iris, Marsh Marigolds, Frogbit, Arrowhead, Watermint, Bog Bean and flowering Rush.