A Heap of a Community Garden Project

Miss Angela, patron saint of popular music, sent me a link from Imogen Heap’s website concerning a community gardening effort in her London neighborhood. Apparently there are the remains of a burned down Manor’s walled kitchen garden in a local park, and Heap has joined forces with UK Charity Clear Village to revitalize it as a community garden. From what I understand, for 2 weeks in September, while the folks at Clear Village (and volunteers) work on clearing debris, tilling, creating artwork for the space and meet to discuss the garden’s future, Heap will be working onsite on her newest album (Heapsong3), inviting anyone who drops by to contribute.

Hello all. It’s time for Heapsong3 (the third toward my work in progress 4th Album) starting 19th September for two weeks. As you have no doubt figured out each Heapsong is entirely different from the last (heapsong1, heapsong2) and this time I’m bringing everything much closer to home.

You see, 2 minutes walk from my house there is a lovely park and in the grounds of the park there is a Georgian walled garden in need of a lot of help. In it’s heyday it was a kitchen garden at the peak of gardening technology. The size of a football pitch, its walls 4 metres high and amongst other things, growing pineapples in greenhouses. Its had quite a history but sadly over the last 30 years it’s fallen into disrepair and mostly been neglected.

In a nutshell, I’m asking you to physically get involved in helping Thomas (read more here) to bring it back to life with the local community, putting spade to soil, as I wonder about the garden putting pen to paper.

It may seem strange but I have never written a song about a person I’ve never met. A historical figure or even a fictitious character. I want to find a local character’s story to tell. Dead or alive, hopefully to do with the garden directly. Bringing to life a forgotten story as the garden breaths new life for the community and beyond.

There’ll be the odd camera about, filming the making of Heapsong3 and the garden’s progress. I may occasionally bring in the odd instrument into the garden and see who steps up to the challenge of making a noise, or come up next to you recording the sounds of whatever it is you’re working on.

So Thomas’ team and the Borough’s Park managers will be welcoming up to twelve volunteers a day for a two week span (19th Sept – 2nd Oct) for three kinds of activities they will have prepared. The park is near Romford, Essex. Nearest train station is Gidea Park.

  • Clearing the decks! – bricklaying,  carpentry, masonry, irrigation expertise, catering, revealing original footpaths, tilling the soil.
  • Creating artwork from the debris of the clearing to be positioned around the park to raise local awareness to the ongoing project.
  • A ’round table’ of people and ideas (a Clear Village mini lab) 1st Oct for it’s future role in the community – we would be happy to have people with some knowlege of biodynamic agriculture, permaculture, architecture, community project management, drawing/live sketching etc.

So for now, if this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in please email garden@clear-village.org with a brief description of your skills, what you’d like to do and when you’d like to be there.

We’ll post up more info when we have it. There’ll be nowhere for you to sleep I’m afraid so you’ll need to sort out your own accommodation but we will feed and water you and you’ll be forever welcome into the garden!

There’ll also be a release party for the song, celebration of the walled garden’s new beginnings and Thomas’ 35th birthday all on 8th October at The Round  House (where we live) which we’d love those of you involved to come to.

Oh I wish I could be in London to volunteer for this! It’s always nice when a celebrity uses their fame to help kickstart a project like this. I hope they get the amount of volunteers/community support/funding they need to make this idea a reality!


Imogen Heap photo from innocentwords


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