The Highgate Centre Garden is a private space run by service users with the support of two community gardeners. The centre has supported and empowered people living with mental-health difficulties in Camden for over 30 years.
Developing and looking after the garden across the seasons is a key part of that support.
The garden consists of a walled courtyard containing a herb garden, a small woodland garden and a series of manger-style raised beds where we grow a range of vegetables, fruit and salads. The focal point is the sea of summer-flowering annuals and perennials that greet you as part of our centrepiece container-based planting scheme. We bring on as many of these plants as we can ourselves through propagation techniques taught by the community gardeners.
The display tells us where we are in the seasons simply by what is in flower. You may even spot a nesting bird or two in the jasmine, or in one of the boxes built and decorated by one of our resident artists. Last year we hosted families of blackbirds, wrens and thrushes.
Away from the courtyard, we have a small pond and bog garden that we will have completed renovating in time for OGSW. An old loquat tree nearby has been under-planted with native ferns and woodland perennials. There is a small bench there where you can sit and enjoy the view. We have built a multi-storey wildlife stack where all manner of creatures beneficial to the garden can live, from stag beetles to lacewings.
We try to run the garden as sustainably as we can. We propagate from our own plants where possible, use kitchen waste and organic coffee grounds from our local coffee cart to produce compost, collect fallen leaves to make leaf mould and grow comfrey plants to make our own plant feed.
Our garden is a beautiful little sanctuary away from the bustle of Kentish Town. We look forward to welcoming you.