How does an Energy Garden come to fruition? Follow Finchley Central to find out!
Finchley Central is slated to become the 32nd Energy Garden on the London Overground network with a final install date of 21 February. But launch day has been months in the making! Each garden is its own story of community engagement, collaborative planning, professional design and, ultimately, project delivery. Finchley Central provides a perfect case study for the Energy Garden model of engaging community groups and greening the Overground. Let’s take a look at how it works.
Phase 1: Planning
Over several months in Fall 2018
In the case of Finchley, the existing, neglected garden space at the station was pointed out to us by a member of the New North London Synagogue. Thus, it was nominated as a potential future Energy Garden and put into the project pipeline. We began the discussion about reviving this space in earnest with NNLS and other multi-faith groups including Barnet Multi-Faith Forum and Finchley Methodist Church.
Once we determined there was an appetite for this project, we got in touch with station management to discuss possibility and feasibility. From there, we delved into the red tape surrounding planning permissions so that we could get to a point where the project was tangible. Then it was time for the fun stuff.
Phase 2: Design
Thursday, 6 December in the Meeting Room at Platform 3.
With the garden now fully on the cards, we set a date for a design meeting in which all members of the public, as well as the different community groups, were invited to collaboratively design their new platform garden. On the back of this design meeting, we came out with a blueprint for the garden that was then forwarded to the groups involved for their approval.
Phase 3: Clearing Day
Sunday, 13 January at Platform 3, Finchley Central
It was time to implement our vision. The next step was to clear the overgrown space that we planned to use for the garden. So we drummed up some interest and leaned on our community connections to get a group of dedicated volunteers out on a dreary Sunday. Donning our now-famous orange hi-vis Energy Garden vests, we got our hands dirty pulling out roots, clearing weeds, etc
Phase 4: Final plant selection
What is actually going to go in the garden? We find that out today (24 January). Community Outreach Officer Cat Rocca meets with members of the public to discuss what ornamental plants will be placed along the walkway and what food crops will be grown.
Phase 5: Installation
At the time of writing, we are still waiting on final permissions to come through. If we get the green light to install absolutely everything at the same time, the entire design could be brought to life in as few as two days. The more likely scenario is that we install in phases- work on reshaping and relaying the path and getting plants in the ground first; and then move on to the big things like a pagoda seating area. The only way to know for sure is to stay tuned here to Energy Garden blog and our social media channels. We can’t wait to see the finished product!