The Rockingham Community Allotments are nestled in the quiet Falmouth Road, off of the New Kent Road. The allotments were built in 2011 with funding from Southwark council’s Cleaner Greener Safer fund. What was initially built as a few beds alongside a tool shed. Has progressed into eleven large allotment beds, a beautifully painted ex-shipping container to house tools and equipment for the site, a large thriving pond, three beehives, a wildlife meadow, compost heaps and a running water supply. The space is an intergenerational learning and sharing hub, attracting all members of the community to appreciate and join in with developing the allotments.
Raspberry bushes line the railings beside the entrance. The first of the allotment beds are on ground level with full accessibility, with the rest up on a wonderful mound, filled with vegetables, flowers and even a large cage – for one resident to bring down their turtle to feast on the weeds. The meadows shape the garden from the back with young apple, pear and plum trees weaved throughout. To the shadiest side, a new garden has begun to take shape with three Dickinson antarctica’s (soft tree ferns) being planted close together, with the spot soon to be carved into a kidney shape, to be planted with lots of low and mid-growing shade loving plants.
In the sun to the side of the container, is the majestic pond and beehives, teeming with life. You can see all sorts of insects, birds and frogs attracted to the space – with literally hundreds of tadpoles darting around the water. The border surrounding the wildlife is filled with a stunning planting scheme of aquatic and meadow plants. A lovely glasshouse has just begun to take shape in the site.
Rockingham is a private site, locked unless an allotment holder is present. But well worth contacting the gardens and making a visit down, it is a very special oasis in the city. There are hopes soon to extend the space and impending plans of restoring the swollen wood of a few of the raised beds.