A mini Eden project for the community
Wolves Lane Nursery
Volunteers are helping transform an old nursery and garden centre into a thriving community food hub and local attraction.
The Wolves Lane Centre in Wood Green is an impressive complex of glasshouses and outdoor growing space dating back to the 1960s. Two years ago it was taken over by a coalition dedicated to restoring the centre with an ambition to making it a hub for growing and distributing food. As a result it now houses various sustainable businesses such as Edible London As a result it now houses various sustainable businesses such as Edible London but, more than this, there are plans to restore the Palm House, cactus house and café as visitor attractions.
Retired botanist and volunteer, Pamela Harling said:
“The potential is endless. We want it to become a vibrant community hub that’s running workshops for people and allowing people to come and learn how to grow plants. The site has a long history of helping people with learning disabilities and we would also love school groups to come back and visit us, which they used to do in the past.”
Pamela is one of a green-fingered army of volunteers who visit the centre every Tuesday to help with the maintenance and restoration.
Proudly showing us around the exotic Palm House full of fish ponds and interesting plants, Pamela said:
“It’s a labour of love. But there is still a lot to do. There is a Friends of Wolves Lane group and last year we took part in the mayor’s crowdfunding campaign and raised £16,000 so we can now put up 40 solar panels which will save on heating costs."
Angela Appleby added:
“My heart is here. And I volunteer every Tuesday. Today I’m clipping back, tidying, doing a bit of weeding - helping maintain this oasis of green. It’s a wonderful provision. I used to teach here and it was an amazing experience for the children to see the diversity of plants. I hope the schools will come back and we hope it will be open to the public more.”
At the current time the centre is only open to the public on Sundays between noon and 4pm. Once a week the volunteers open up so visitors can enjoy the local attraction, tuck into homemade refreshments and meet some of the local businesses housed here.
One of them is the Wolves Lane Flower Company run by Haringey residents Marianne Mogendorff and Camila Klich.
“We specialise in British seasonal flowers, and our whole ethos is about sustainability. Ninety per cent of all flowers bought in this country come from abroad so there is an awful carbon footprint. We both love flowers and thought, ‘There has got to be an alternative."
“This is such a great space. We’ve been here for two years now and we’ve tried to build it up and make it a productive growing space. In a few months everything in this greenhouse will be flowering.”
The centre is always looking for more volunteers and no experience is necessary. For further details and to find out more about Wolves Lane visit the: Wolves Lane website (external link).
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