'Guerrilla gardeners' create tiny community space in Haverstock Hill

Linda Grove, Daniel Glaser, Max Friedlander and Sinead Burke with their families at the pocket garden in Haverstock Hill

Linda Grove, Daniel Glaser, Max Friedlander and Sinead Burke with their families at the pocket garden in Haverstock Hill - Credit: Anastasia Stan

Haverstock Hill has a new community garden thanks to a team of volunteers backed by the new management of Budgen's. 

Linda Grove, who in the past has been involved in gardening projects around the borough including in the grounds of the Royal Free, told this newspaper: "What I like to do is start things off that I can leave to others.

"The idea is to encourage the community to welcome the new owners of Budgen's and celebrate – hopefully – Abacus getting a new home. Hopefully the parents will get on board."

Land at Haverstock School has been earmarked to be the new home of Abacus Belsize Primary.

Linda said she is confident the Kavanagh group, which now runs Budgen's, will continue Andrew Thornton's legacy.

"The feeling I get from them is that it'll have the same look and feel and carry on," she said, thanking Surma at the shop for providing money to pay for plants. 


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Linda added: "Anyone is welcome to add plants to the garden or decorate the tree and water it.

"It would be helpful and kind if anyone sees any nasty fag ends or rubbish on the garden to take the time to pick it up – after all the garden is for you."

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One of the Abacus parents to get involved was Sinead Burke, who is a dietician at the Royal Free, and who said a big positive of the experience was feeling part of the community. 

"I have lived in the UK for 16 or 17 years and in Belsize Park for more than 10 years," she said. "Sometimes there's a sense in London that it can feel a very disparate place. 

"A community feeling can be hard to find, but this is a really good example of how doing something together in your local area can create that. 

"It's lovely to get stuck in and do a little hard labour."

Linda said she would like to see other groups get involved in "guerrilla gardening" to brighten up the area.

She said: "Especially during Covid, we have seen the importance of nature and how it de-stresses us, so if we all help ourselves to improve our neighbourhoods, that can be nothing but good.

"You don’t need to know about gardening , just throw a few seeds down and see what happens."

Have you done any guerrilla gardening around Hampstead and Highgate? Send pictures and a brief description to letters@hamhigh.co.uk and we might feature it in our pages.

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