Palace Road Nature Gardens was once the grounds of a large Victorian house, number 36 Palace Road. In the post war recession the number of people who could afford such magnificent properties declined substantially, and sadly it fell into disrepair and was finally knocked down in the early 1980s. If you walk along Palace road you can see that many other similar houses shared its fate, and were replaced by blocks of flats. Number 38 still stands, and is now a care home.
Fortunately Lambeth Council had the inspired idea of preserving the garden as a community asset for rest and recreation. Some changes were made including the installation of a pond and provision of new paths. The garden has been allowed to develop in a semi-wild fashion and now has many points of interest. There are after all few things more beautiful than a carefully laid out garden to which nature has added the finishing touches.
The nature garden is an ideal resource for children. There are many secret paths and bowers where they can play. On a sunny day it is a nice spot for a picnic (no barbecues please!). In spring you will find tadpoles in the pond. In autumn there are plenty of sweet blackberries, and in the winter ducks visit the sheltered pond.
In 2012 The Friends Group was offered a grant of £10000 by Groundwork UK from the Western Riverside Environmental Fund for environmental improvement works at the Nature Garden. The nature garden had suffered from natural succession by self-seeded trees and dense ivy ground cover. Grassland areas had been encroached by invasive weeds and brambles. and by layers of dead organic material which inhibited floral diversity. Appropriate intervention and replanting was needed to increase biodiversity and benefit wildlife. Woodlands management involved felling of a number of self seeded sycamore trees and replanting with a variety of species given by the Woodlands Trust. Grassland areas were rotovated and planted with a wildflower seed mix to create a diverse and colorful wildflower meadow. Other works included installing new seating and creation of a woodlands nature trail.
For more detailed information and updates you can visit the Palace Road Nature Garden Facebook page.