Friendship stories

Volunteering provides friendship for members Bridie (left) and Margo (right)

Margo’s friendship story

Margo Walker belongs to Holland Garden Volunteers, a community gardening group in southwest London. Margo explains why being part of this community of friends, with a shared purpose, gives so much pleasure.

We are a group of around ten volunteers in Holland Garden, southwest London. Over the past two years, we have become a close community of friends through working together, from our eldest family member, 83-year-old Bridie, to our youngest, two-year-old Hughie, who loves watering and surveying the garden.

At 83, Bridie has boundless energy and always motivates us to keep going, no matter how tired we’re feeling or if the weather is bad. She came to live in the area three years ago and says she’d be lost without the garden.

Holland Garden Volunteers hail from all over the world. Kai the collie is an important member too!

Holland Garden Volunteers’ star gardener, two-year-old Hughie

“Living on her own in sheltered accommodation can feel lonely, but Bridie is never alone in Holland Garden.”

At 11 o’clock, it is time to stop for tea and often some delicious cake, provided by one of the volunteers. We gather at the pavilion to chat and share stories, or discuss ideas for our next gardening project.

In the past year, we’ve built a bug hotel, installed a pond, planted a wildflower meadow and a dahlia bed and created a prairie garden. We’ve installed raised beds for growing vegetables and flowers for the garden, created compost areas and built a potting table from wood pallets.  

There is always someone around to greet new ideas with support, encouragement and enthusiasm. It’s really inspiring and great fun too.

Volunteers work outside through all the seasons, in snow, rain, frost and sunshine

Visitors often stop to thank the group for their hard work in the gardens

“Gardening is a fantastic way to keep fit and there is no doubt it benefits us all both physically and mentally. Working outside, close to nature, gives us all great joy, through all the seasons, in snow, rain, frost and sunshine.”

It has been exciting to see wildflowers grow from seed, thrilling to admire the gorgeous colours of salvia and dahlias, and wonderful to see birds, butterflies and insects thriving in the garden.

Visitors often stop to thank us for our work. A recent visitor said, “You can really feel the love in this garden”. We can honestly say that volunteering gives us the greatest pleasure and we are delighted that visitors enjoy the garden so much.

Follow @hollandgardenvolunteers on social media or visit the Friends of Holland Garden website for more information.

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