From drab to Disney!
Victoria Wilson transformed a drab corner on her housing estate into a colourful wildflower meadow attracting birds and insects of all kinds. Not only does gardening give her great enjoyment, but it connects her with the people living in her area.
We talked to Victoria about her love of gardening and why she will be entering Islington In Bloom again this year (she won Best Forgotten Corner last year) and why you should get involved in the competition too!
“I love entering Islington In Bloom and this will be my second year in the competition. I began with a small wildflower meadow that has now evolved into a fenced off, totally insane wildlife garden that I adore!
“The area was once a dull, uninspiring, drab corner of a grass area in the centre of a housing estate, and now it attracts birds and insects of all kinds – in fact it looks a bit like a Disney film out there most days!
“I had no idea that I would win anything last year and was so surprised that I burst into tears. It meant so much to me.
“As a childminder, I involve the children as much as possible with the planting and looking after the plants, but I also spend upwards of two hours every morning weeding out the bindweed, goose grass and excess nettles, so that they don’t suffocate the meadow plants that are too delicate to withstand their rapid growth.
“It is my special time of the day; the time where I empty my mind and get ready for the noise and business of the day ahead. Then at the end of the day, I spend at least two hours watering – with both a hose and a watering can, using left-over dishwater.
“Other residents should get involved in Islington In Bloom, even if it is a simple window box or planter because of the joy that one tiny spot of colour can bring to both yourself and others around you, not to mention helping our desperately struggling wild creatures and insects.
“Just because we live on a housing estate or crowded, busy street, doesn’t mean that it has to be dark, and devoid of colour. It is also a wonderful way to meet and befriend your neighbours and those who pass by.
“Every day, new people stop to look and talk about the space I tend. I have shared seeds and cuttings with people I have never seen before, only for them to return to do the same with me. Cities can be lonely places. Gardening is a fabulous way to instigate conversation.”
Vicky’s top tip
The advice I would give would be to keep on top of your cloying weeds, allow happy, friendly weeds to feed the insects – like dandelions, leave them be! – and be prepared to work hard and to be utterly enthralled and fall in love with your magical little plot!
The closing date for Islington In Bloom entries is Wednesday, 31 May 2017.
For more information and how to enter Islington In Bloom.