Down the embankment of West Dulwich train station you can find a botanical garden project created and managed by New leaf which offers education, training and employment for young people by building educational gardens.
New Leaf’s founder – botanist and plant historian – Vinnie acts as a mentor to the young people they train. Helping them start careers as gardeners, tree surgeons, construction workers and more.
New Leaf is a hub for people in Dulwich, with friends dropping by at all time for agricultural advice, to volunteer a shift in the book shop (donated books raising funds for future projects) or just for a chat.
The botanical garden is to be used as a teaching resource for local schools and other community members and tells the story depicting the evolution of flowering plants through time and of their uses through history.
New leaf also encourages and works with local artists getting them involved with hand-painted signs and notice boards for the garden and painting murals.
this is where i got involved with the project a few days before there big opening weekend event on 31st May and 1st June 2014 there garden walls, shop shutter and murals was damaged with tags hindering all the hardwork the New Leaf team have done over the past few years. I see photos of the damage and offered to help by painting the shop shutter and to see if i could repair the murals for there New Leaf Botanical Garden Day.
The weekend was a great success with local family’s, residents and friends all getting involved and “digging in” helping to move heavy materials, clear planting areas, paint bird/bat boxes and planting.
New Leaf’s president Hue Edwards (BBC journalist / broadcaster) came down and gave a great speech of encouragement highlighting the work they do with young people and bringing local communities together and to spread the word that new leaf will be expanding and growing like there gardens over the following months and years.