The junction of Windus Walk and Oldhill Street was until 2019 a purely functional tarred area. Google Street Scene for July 2011 shows a telephone box and two trees – one from the Windus Streets for People initiative and one other of longer standing, though leaning at an angle. Between them was a stretch of tarmac.
By 2014 both the telephone box and the leaning tree had gone. By 2018 the tree had been replaced but the tarmac remained. Then in 2019 someone in Hackney’s Streetscene was inspired to create a small garden plot. The hardstanding was removed, a pit was dug and filled with soil.
Planting was limited in species and colour: the core plant was the white Shasta Daisy – compact, resilient, repeat flowering. Against these were planted tall flamboyant red poppies, balanced by even taller bronze fennel. Purple came from lavender ‘Hidcote’ and Verbena Bonariensis which grow to four feet. As groundcover infill Lady’s Mantle provided a yellow flower. Bushy bronze grasses were interplanted. All were either perennial or self-seeding. Since then cow parsley (as well as nettles) have arrived and poppy seedlings have proliferated (as they do).
Throughout the drought of 2020 a couple of residents watered the beds and the plants thrived. There was a little vandalism and a few bicycles were ridden over the plot. Some plants died but the residents replaced them like for like. What emerged by summer of 2020 was a fine display. It is best encountered rounding the curve from Windus Walk into Oldhill Street but however you approach it, it gives pleasure to come across a public garden display, a gift to all who pass.