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The Discovery of Southsea Green

Preserving Historic Sites

By the sea and beyond a rose garden laid an overgrown piece of land almost invisible. Despite its proximity to those around, the only mark of its presence was held by a small crevice opposite a lake. The modest adherence of surrounding birds who flew through the lake sat observant of a formidable absence beyond human perception. The passers by would capture a glance of its existence on their frequent walks through the area. However, these glances were without knowledge of what bore dormancies in their vision. The garden was unnoticeable. There would be no reason to bear an overgrown garden in the middle of a renownable area. An area known for its impressive persistence and undiluted devotion to all forms of natural history. Unbeknown to the unaware participants of this serial unseeable, there was an important reason for this overgrown land. Behind the emerging trees and flora was a preservation site irredeemable and untouchable to any human exhibition. Building rights were prohibited. This garden had a history that dated back 500 years and its origins went back to its use by Henry VIII. The path was left idle. The soil beneath therefore began to reconcile with this unintentional indifference. The hidden site was also once an ancient ship path, which would connect the ships to the land. The past footsteps of great kings had once traversed this path mesmerised by an immense curiosity. There was no definitive estimation of their travels or what those travels would encompass. Maps of the world were hand drawn one by one back then. The sea was a mysterious undertaking of imperative importance. The path here would bring back ships from vast voyages into the unknown. The relationship between the land and the sea was an implorative metaphor for internal exploration: An imprint of the epiphanies humans had experienced when unanswerable questions were resolved throughout history. Gardeners have now come together to restore this historic path and create a garden which preserves the meaning held within the soil beneath. A secret garden and a sensory garden. A place with various arrangements of distinct plants and flowers which will evoke the touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. People can connect back to its history through similar perceptual themes of outer discovery and internal epiphanies. The garden is a contemporary evocation of how nature will always enhance our perception regardless of how time passes. Gardeners will not build upon this land. They will build upon our relationship with nature in ways which enhance our senses and perception of the world around us.

PASTTIMES

In 2014 we developed the garden from a derelict strip of land which was overgrown and full of old masonry. We worked with the local council to encourage more local growing and began getting the message across that gardening and volunteering is a valuable and viable activity. Thousands of hours later, and by as many people, the garden has transformed into a community green-space which we are proud to share with others.

  • Portsmouth in Bloom - We worked with the City Council from 2014 to run this well-loved competition to get the city blooming with flowers and veg in gardens and street verges, and on balconies and in pots all over the city.

  • We have planted a community orchard, and have distributed from the Woodland Trust as part of the Plant a Million Trees campaign 800 saplings and young trees that were distributed to schools and community spaces.

  • Skillshops funded by the European Social Fund - We are running workshops for people who want to learn new skills and to help with employability. Our weekly crafts and gardening workshops teach new ways of working and are a great way to make new friends.

  • Volunteering - We need help to water, plant, and weed. We need advocates to run events or talk to the community about helping protect and nurture the natural world.

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