Southsea Green

Community Garden | Canoe Lake

Spring Articles

Southsea Greenhouse crew digging the new land Southsea Greenhouse crew digging the new land Southsea Greenhouse crew digging the new land

By Louise Twitcher

19th May

What a difference UKI North Harbour volunteers made on Global Virtual Volunteer Day ! Last Tuesday, we had a team of 12 eager and motivated volunteers spend the day supporting us with clearing and bagging up of rubbish, planting, hedge trimming, painting, weaving and watering. Southsea Green were very grateful for our support since they are a community space volunteer led enterprise that is always looking for help! The difference we made in a day's volunteering was instantly visible and well received from the Project. Kudos to Dean's carpentry skills were amazing building the new flower beds, Louise needs to work on her sawing skills, there is an imprint of Andy's body still in the hedge where he fell off the ladder , whilst Michelle and Anna are still trying to get the paint off her arms, legs, clothes, shoes and hair ! Megan the dog had great fun hunting rats and chasing pigeons - Big Thanks to our North Harbour 'Gardening Dream Team" who were:

Adele, Karen, Lori, Andy, Alison, Louise, Anna, Hayley, Michelle, Naciera, Dean and Sally and Megan the dog, along with the lovely volunteers at Southsea Green.

Some of the pictures all available at this link:

Quote from IBM below

Thank you for your wonderful email, I have passed it onto my dream team of volunteers!

“We had such a great day volunteering with you all yesterday, thank you for organising, for making us feel so welcome and for keeping us going with refreshments. The Project that you have set up at Southsea Green is truly wonderful, and it warmed my heart to see the stream of visitors just in the short space of time that we were there, who benefit from the great work that you and your team do ! I take my hat off to you all.” Louise Twitcher, IBM UK

Southsea Greenhouse crew digging the new land

By Sue Stokes

12th May

Hello Sunshine, how was your week? Down the garden path, that’s beginning to emerge from the mud of winter into something rather well beautiful... how beautiful? Well something kind of special is happening at our community garden. Heard of crowd-surfing or crowd-funding? well now we are doing ‘crowd-gardening’, and beginning to become that herd of cool cats who water each other’s plants and watch over each other’s plots for the enemy, lack of water, and nasty slugs who eat all our babies.

It’s that untouchable thing, more difficult to find these days, yet glimpsed over garden walls, on allotments, and in wonderful stories of giving on Facebook which make us smile and cry. It’s something rare or golden, that shines like the sun and flickers through the trees we pass in the hurried or sometimes meandering moments of our lives. This week, we have help from 15 remarkable people from IBM, who are giving us a day to restore buildings and help build beds and replant fruit trees. More on that next week. till then enjoy the sunshine.

Apple picking image

By Vik Burnand

5th May

My nanny’s garden seemed endless when I was little. In truth, it wasn’t, but when you’re 6, the bottom of the garden seems a long way away.

I was always fascinated by a rectangular pathway, around a small patch of grass. I’d ask my nanny to tell me about it, time and time again, even though I knew the story. It had once been a pond but had been filled in when my mum was a child. This sparked my imagination, and I would often tread carefully, making sure I didn’t ‘fall in’.

I remember running around, with the spongy grass beneath my bare feet; the smell of freshly cut grass in the air and washing on the line. My brothers and I would collect apples from a huge tree and race up and down the lawn again and again. Happy memories, that gave me an appreciation and love for gardens. The garden remains, but has been transformed, but that’s a story for another day...

Goff Gleadle's granddaughters in the garden

By Goff Gleadle

29th May

Do cats eat bats? Do today’s children know where their food comes from? Many children come to Southsea Green garden don’t and are often reluctant to eat a pea from its pod. If they try though, they soon come back for more!

We can easily change this. When my granddaughters were 8 and 3, I made them a small raised bed, just 4 foot by 3 foot. They loved sowing the carrots and the lettuce seed, although the little one was a bit haphazard in her sowing! The plants still grew though.

I planted tumbling tomatoes and dwarf peas in buckets. Carrots grow well here too. The children happily watered their plants and looked out for the slugs as they grew, although the little one enjoyed watering people too. They squabble over the tomatoes and peas, so need a bucket each). At my allotment, they eat peas from the pod, carrots out of the ground and sweetcorn straight from the plant. Get them growing and they’ll eat the best.

Come meet Goff at the Community Garden at our next Get Together June 2 12-2pm.

A picture of red flowers

By Pat Brian

22nd May

I’ve stopped counting or trying to identify all the new clumps of green this year, now the sun is shining I am so happy to wait and see what they become. My Camellias have been blooming since before Christmas and they are loving being in the summer sun and regular watering, before moving back into their winter home and mulched in with coffee grounds.

The roses are growing well and enjoying the sunshine, and my Antirrhinums which I didn’t pull up in the autumn, have grown into bushes and flowering. It’s 4 years since my Fuchsias had blight, so hoping it won’t return. My fences are repaired, so my clematis and my sweet peas have something to cling onto as they grow, if we can keep the slugs off them. My Irises lost some flower buds where they’ve been nibbled.

All in all, it is just a case of waiting and watching, to see what my garden will show me this year. For more gardening tips, book onto a workshop at Southsea Green community garden. Greenfingers Workshop FB Page »

Trees overhanging a lane

By Marion Doyle ~ Milton Green

15th May

Beautiful grounds at St. James Hospital maybe lost forever if this housing development goes ahead. Milton people remember walking among the dappled shade of trees, feeling tranquil and calm. Birds and animals who live there, can be seen with quiet observation. We hope that common sense will prevail and this application will be refused, leaving the grade II listed Chapel surrounded by it's trees and resident wildlife to the peaceful setting it deserves. We cannot afford to lose Beeches or Fairoak villas, designed by A.E.Cogswell who deserves blue plaque recognition for these beautiful buildings.

Artist, Edward King spent many hours in the grounds, and his paintings may be the only record of the beauty that will be lost forever if this application is approved. Surely it is more therapeutic to experience life giving trees for real, rather than on canvas. You can help us object to this application at: 18/00288/OUT or email to quoting 18/00288/OUT Deadline to object is 30th May. Thank you for helping to Keep Milton Green!

Picture of Blackberries Front of church in Portsmouth
Picture of a red breasted Robin bird

By David Baynes

8th May

Visitors to the Park are starting to enjoy the results of the gardening team’s recent planting programme. It focussed on the herbaceous beds around Canoe Lake Cafe and the terraces in the Japanese Garden.

If the present warm sunny weather early in the month carries on through May horticulture in the Park will continue to thrive. Oranges and reds (Geum,Rudbeckia and Cistus) currently predominate, but watch for yellows (Achillea and Doronicum) and blues (Caryopteris and Salvia) coming out during the next few weeks. The leaves of the multi-coloured foliage plants (Heuchera and Phormium) are also increasingly brightening up the Park. Gardener Ros will always be pleased to help identify any plants in the Park which attract your interest if you see her as you walk through.

At the Butterfly House the new tropical ‘residents’ are due to arrive this month and their British cousins out in the garden will soon be making the most of the recently planted additional nectar-rich, open-petalled flower species. Southsea Green will put up notices of forthcoming events and activities and ways people can get involved.

Picture of a red breasted Robin bird

By Sarah Clark

1st May

Working on our patch, in the Southsea Green community garden was pure joy last weekend. We caught a magic moment with the friendly robin redbreast taking an interest in the worms wriggling away in our bed. Our rather bedraggled looking bean plant was moved given a supportive bamboo pole. Then to work on planting seeds and bedding in a couple of rather handsome looking bushes. Redcurrant and blueberry, as we are partial to the odd blueberry and are looking forward to growing food which we will enjoy scoffing once it comes through.

Tomato plants moved location from my kitchen windowsill to our patch. With only some recycled bottles to protect them from mini-beasts and cold weather we’ve got our fingers crossed that they still grow. Lines of peas and beans to grow from seed now the weather is showing more signs of spring in the air. Admiring the other beds and chancing upon the odd hidden treasure of a Monkey Puzzle stone. Worked through lunch and returned home tired but happy after a good day grubbing about in the dirt!

Image of the fron of Southsea Green, gate and Craft Shack

Press Release: Happy Birthday Southsea Green by Pat Brain

20th April

The old saying that ‘from small acorns might oaks will grow’, may not yet be applied to Southsea Green, but they are going in the right direction. From over 7 years ago, operating from a small red and white hut on the seafront, to where you are now.

As patron, I’ve watched the growth from the very small acorn to community garden. I can remember driving to the prom on a Saturday morning with the back of the car loaded with plants and pots for Sue and friends to sell. It was a lovely sight to see them climbing up and down the steps fully loaded and then coming back quickly, so that we could get out of the way before buses came or the warden moved us on. Friends raided their allotments during the summer to fill the hut with tomatoes, potatoes, beans and many other home-grown fruit and veg. In fact, Sue had a waiting list at times.

Then came the move to Canoe Lake – more ground to cover and lots of digging and planting and meetings to discuss long term plans and hopes for the future. Just when things were settling down, along came the move to a new area with hedge planting, trenches to be dug and shrubs and trees to go in. As I’ve said Southsea Green is no great Oak yet, but with the love and determination that Sue, Goff and all the community gardeners have, it will continue to thrive.

Look at all the Schools which are now entering Britain in Bloom and having small gardens and even ponds and orchards in their School grounds. A long way on from the annual DAFFODIL growing competition in the Spring-term, and simply growing Sunflowers. They now have visits to lovely gardens like RHS. Wisley, and other stately homes, and into the countryside, to help them learn, and to develop their understanding of how things grow.

So many congratulations to you all on your 7th birthday and the first day of Spring. I hope to join you for a cup of tea and piece of cake.

Pat Brian

Guardian article about Southsea Greenhouse, seven years old on the 21st April Link to Guardian Witness website »

Colourful hands meeting together

Our 7th Birthday

Saturday 21st April

It's our birthday on 21st April - Pop in for fun and games and help us make a little sunshine from noon at the community garden. 12-3pm

Where to find us »
Poster of Allotment Buddies from Food Portsmouth
Poster of Allotment Buddies from Food Portsmouth

By Gail Baird

17th April

Allotment Buddies is a new project from Food Portsmouth. We are looking for volunteers to help those who are having trouble keeping up with their allotment or garden. You might be a keen gardener, interested in learning or just wanting to get out and active. Initially based at the Community Garden at Milton Piece Allotments where full training, help and support will be given – along with plenty of tea and coffee. For those interested in help, or if you are struggling yourself and would like some help and company, get in touch with Gail on 02392 892022 or email her at

Vik's photo collage of a gnome, dafodils and purple flowers

By Vik Burnand

10th April

As a novice gardener, trying to encourage young people to get outside and embrace growing, and learn about gardening myself, the Catch22 ‘bed’ plot has been a haphazard, yet brilliant, experiment over the last couple of years. We’ve had a ‘plant it and see what happens’ approach to growing; from monster marigolds (we never did try that tea recipe) to substantial spring onions (which turned out to be garlic), with a good dose of enthusiasm and some top tips from our neighbours-in-the-know, it’s been a great opportunity to learn.

Spring is here, and we have a plan! We’re hoping to get to grips with growing more fruit and veg. Red currants, blueberries and cranberries on the wish-list, in addition to radishes, different types of lettuces and hopefully some tomatoes.

But the garden isn’t just about growing. 2018 sees plenty of plans on the horizon, with the current Southsea Greenfingers workshops and the upcoming 7th birthday party, there are all sorts of ways to get involved. Pop in and say hi on the 21st!

Collage of garden photos

By Sue Stokes

3rd April

We might feel that Winter will never leave, like we crawled through the wardrobe into Narnia and the sun has been banished, but here's a little light and a poem from Christina Rossetti to warm us all up...

“A Robin said: The Spring will never come, And I shall never care to build again. A Rosebush said: These frosts are wearisome, My sap will never stir for sun or rain. The half Moon said: These nights are fogged and slow, I neither care to wax nor care to wane. The Ocean said: I thirst from long ago, Because earth's rivers cannot fill the main. When Springtime came, red Robin built a nest, And trilled a lover's song in sheer delight. Grey hoarfrost vanished, and the Rose with might Clothed her in leaves and buds of crimson core. The dim Moon brightened. Ocean sunned his crest, Dimpled his blue, yet thirsted evermore.”

So, shake out your gardening gloves, grab your hats and wellies, and join us at the community garden at Canoe Lake. Today 12 noon till 3pm or come to our birthday big dig on Saturday April 21st and celebrate 7 years of Southsea Green.

By Sue Stokes

27th March

Southsea Green is a beloved green space where we grow local food and flowers. A community garden, transformed from long forgotten wasteland. Portsmouth City council support our social venture in their commitment to local communities. Our philosophy is to ‘grow your own’, sharing seeds, compost; plants; trees; green space and resources. With the Food Partnership, and other green groups, we campaign for trees and clean air; recycling, reducing waste and to make our city a happier healthier environment.

Do you love trees? We still have lots of giveaway Birch, Holly, Crab Apple, Hazel, Rowan, Dogwood, Blackthorn and Dog Rose all good for next winter’s potions, and to razzle dazzle the birds and the bees. So come and get them. Also support canes and protective tubes to help give them a good start. This is part of the Woodland Trust’s Plant a million Trees campaign -It’s FREE, so pop in the community garden on April 7th.

Call for more information

Mobile: 07484 197065

Check our Greenfingers page for FREE workshops

Food Portsmouth partner logo

More info on local food