Many local volunteers have given their time and effort to help clear the site. Watch this space for future opportunities to help out.
If you are a wood carver, sculptor or mosaic artist interested in volunteering some your skills we would love to meet you. Please contact Team Leader Jonathan Bergman.
Hard landscape concept design and build
Original soft landscape gardening and design
Founder / Trustee
Merlin Fox, Keiko Ikuta, Miki Yamanouchi, Hugh l’Ange, Laurence Gold
The Peace Garden, and what it means to me
by Nick Evans
I have lived at various addresses on what I affectionately call “The Magic Triangle”,(Parliament Hill, Tanza Road and Nassington Road), for some 25 years. During that time I have observed many changes in the community . . . and in myself!
At the start of this year I read a short article in the Camden New Journal about the vacant lot opposite my local pub, the Magdala, and the proposal to make it a “Peace Garden”. Immediately, I thought to myself, “I must get involved; this is a project dedicated to the cause of peace that is actually happening in my neighbourhood.” In a sense, I had no choice. Each morning I walked past the railings, I began to take notice of the ground and the trees beyond and thought, yes, here is an opportunity to create something of value and benefit to all of us who live here and to the many visitors we receive each day.
One Sunday morning in March, I spotted Jonathan Bergman doing some work in the garden and engaged him in conversation with a view to “lending a hand”. I liked what he had to say, went out and bought a mattock and started to help on the following Sunday mornings by removing the many small tree stumps that protruded from the sloping terrain. I soon found there was so much more to it than just plain soil: the glass, concrete, pipes, cans, shoes, clothes, plastic bags, antique crisp packets and the occasional toilet seat I excavated were all indicators of an unloved patch which had suffered decades of neglect. By engaging with the ground in such a simple act as digging, you cannot help but ponder such subjects as human activity, for good or for bad,how it affects your immediate environment, the simple passage of time, and the impermanence of everything. The work proved to be physically demanding, and I constantly thought, “Why the hell am I doing this in my spare time?” but then I would remind myself that I am part of a project to create a garden dedicated to Peace.
I have enjoyed the many opportunities that working in the garden has provided for me to talk with my neighbours, or people in the community whom otherwise I would never meet, and for the simple pleasure of being able to raise a smile on a stranger’s face. And, to tell you the truth, I am not much concerned about the finer details of the way this garden will look and what the “user experience” might be, as long as the message for Peace comes across loud and clear.
After a while, maybe during a pause in the morning’s work, I will start to notice a bird -often a robin – singing. If it’s close by, I can’t help but think that the bird is talking to me, and maybe that’s what this is all about: creating a positive zone of peace where we, for once, can shut up and listen to what life is trying to tell us.