Remarkable garden that refused to die bids for top spot in Camden in Bloom show
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
An award-winning garden with a remarkable history will return to the annual Camden in Bloom competition this month.
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”.
You may also want to watch:
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.
- 1 'Real disappointment' over uptake of Covid vaccine among care home staff
- 2 Leila Roy tributes: 'We will miss her energy and her big heart'
- 3 Camden disabled resident on fears over Haverstock Hill cycle lanes
- 4 Two teenagers stabbed in Kilburn and South Hampstead in separate attacks
- 5 O2 Centre redevelopment consultation opened by Camden Council
- 6 Arsenal Women enjoy victory at Villa
- 7 Thanks, traffic, Women's Day, U3A, Haverstock Hill and Covid
- 8 Thames Water under fire for Highgate tree felling
- 9 Joe Montemurro full of praise for Jordan Nobbs following Arsenal's win over Aston Villa
- 10 'Dumped and forgotten': Homeless families on life in England's Lane hostel
“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!”