Forest Hill went back to its roots on May 18th, transformed into an urban orchard by members of the Forest Hill Society and Anne-Marie Parker of Lewisham Gardens as part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival’s Edible High Road - a volunteer-run celebration of plants, gardens and landscapes. Fifty shops and businesses in Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park joined forces to create an avenue of seventy fruit trees celebrating Forest Hill’s history and its current standing as a hub of community gardening.
Close to one hundred people gathered in Forest Hill station’s forecourt to see Channel 4’s Landscape Man, Matthew Wilson, cut the red ribbon to launch the event. Onlookers were genuinely surprised when several hundred free tomato and runner bean plants and various packets of seeds were handed out – as well as an early Harvest Festival basket of fruits supplied by J. Sainsbury’s. Kate’s Sax Quartet provided the opening music, followed by the sweetest renditions from Holy Trinity Primary School’s amazing brass band.
Continuing until Sunday 9th June, a trail map to lead visitors along the route lined with apple, cherry, pear and plum trees is available from Forest Hill Library, the Horniman Museum and various shops. Children taking part can also win gardening prizes with the first 100 correct answers to the puzzle sheet submitted to Shannon’s Garden Centre before June 9th receiving a small herb pot to kick-start their own gardening fun.
Thanks go to all those who volunteered their time and a not inconsiderable amount of energy to making Forest Hill’s first Edible High Road such a success.
Special thanks go to sponsors Shannon’s Garden Centre and Winkworth estate agents, the Horniman Museum and participating stores, Happy Seeds and the Chelsea Fringe.