Search

Remarkable garden that refused to die bids for top spot in Camden in Bloom show

15:08 15 July 2014

Kate Spencer who lives in Cayford House and looks after the communal garden. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Kate Spencer who lives in Cayford House and looks after the communal garden. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

An award-winning garden with a remarkable history will return to the annual Camden in Bloom competition this month.

Camden in Bloom 2014

Camden in Bloom is now open for entries from businesses and residents who want to make the borough even more beautiful.

The competition’s theme this year is “greener together” and there are five categories:

* Best community project

* Best communal garden

* Best balcony

* Best business entrance

* Best environmental project

If you, your community or business are keen gardeners, now is your opportunity to enter.

All prize winners will receive a voucher from sponsors Camden Garden Centre.

The closing date for entries is Friday, August 1.

* For more information visit camden.gov.uk/camdeninbloom

The Cayford House garden, which lines Lawn Road in Belsize Park, has been devastated four times in the last 15 years by maintenance works at the housing block.

Since the garden finished in second place in the 1999 Camden in Bloom competition, Camden Council has had to install a central heating system, replace windows, attend to a gas leak, and install piping from the Royal Free Hospital at the estate.

Yet the garden has recovered on all four occasions, going on to win several prizes at the Gospel Oak Gardening and London in Bloom competitions as well as at the annual gardening awards run by the council.

Retired restaurant manager Kate Spencer, 80, a Cayford House resident who maintains the garden, puts this feat down to its “special energy”.

She said: “It gives so much pleasure to everyone. And the tenants, they appreciate it.

“We used to have a lady who lived somewhere near us and she had cancer, and she used to come and sit in our garden because she had a special feeling about it.

“Everybody thinks that in a high-rise nobody knows each other. In our block, we are a community and you get that feeling when you come.

“Vivienne [a neighbour] has a class on a Thursday. She brings her pupils and they’ll sit in the garden and do maths.

“Then the other children will come down and play.

“When the kids play in the garden, for me that’s the nicest time because you can see the garden is being used, and they all respect it.”

The latest round of works, which took nearly 18 months to complete, saw the lawn, for the most part, entirely dug up.

Yet two months later, the garden looks like it has not been tampered with in years.

“It’s always been my ambition for the garden to come first in Camden,” said Mrs Spencer.

“And I don’t think it will come first this year. But next year the garden will be something else!”

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

08:56
Patrick O'Leary

A member of a violent gang that burst into a woman’s home and stabbed her in the face with a screwdriver has been jailed.

11:39
Howard Jacobson at the LJCC. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Author Howard Jacobson may have missed out on a second Man Booker Prize recently, but it appears the planned closure of a historic Jewish community centre has caused him greater disappointment.

2 minutes ago
Santa joined traders and fairies from the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation to appeal for help with the costs of Highgate's Christmas lights. Picture: Polly Hancock

A fundraising appeal to light up Highgate in time for Christmas has been launched by organisers of the village’s annual yuletide festival.

2 minutes ago
Richard Wakefield. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

The founder of a popular Hampstead Garden Suburb newsletter has passed away, aged 79.

Most read news

And it’s said to be revolutionising access to donor sperm throughout the country.

Many people now feel they have to move jobs to better their career and get ahead.

‘Go get him’ said the police officer, and that’s just what the dog did.

It’s deforestation, but not as you’ve seen it before.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition