Despite my frequent rants on the subject of getting out of The Big Smoke and away to the countryside where I can keep chickens in the garden and expand on my allotmenteering adventures, I still love life in the city.
What is particularly fascinating is the frequent stories about Londoners bringing a bit of ‘green’ to the place. Some of them have built eco-houses with ingenious climate-control systems based on the anatomy of trees. Some of them are running entire farms in the midst of the urban sprawl. Some of them set out to covertly improve the area they live in just for the hell of it.
I’m going to make an attempt to collar a few of of them for a bit of a chat, (preferably to be accompanied by a cup of tea and a sit down) in a thinly veiled attempt to extract trade secrets and accumulated wisdom on how life in The Big Smoke doesn’t have to be all concrete jungle.
So here we are, the first of a series of podcasts with people leading green initiatives in London:
City Bumpkin podcast 1 – Penelope Bennett
Penelope Bennett is the proud owner of a 4.9 x 2.4m (16 x 8 ft in old money) garden on the roof-terrace of her home in the heart of London. Over the years she has grown hundreds of different varieties of fruit and vegetables in this small space, including figs, saffron, Oriental salads and over 30 different types of potato.
Having read and reviewed her brilliant book Window-box Allotment, I was very keen to see her little garden in the flesh and collect some of her wisdom about container gardening in small urban spaces. Penelope was kind enough to give me a tour. She began by telling me how it all started.
Penelope’s book, Window-box Allotment is published by Ebury Press.
Her work has also appeared in The Weekend FT, The Times, The Observer, The Guardian, The New Statesman, BBC Green, BBC Worldwide Website, The Daily Telegraph, Harpers and Queen, Al-Ahram Weekly, The Oldie, Food and Travel, Encounter, Contemporary Review, Modern Painters, SAGA website magazine, Macmillan’s Winter’s Tales, The Atlantic Monthly, Mademoiselle, and on Morning Story.