From the air, Strood looks like it’s surrounded by green spaces. But on the ground, along well-worn walking routes, the only green space in central Strood is St Nicholas churchyard. A large, well-loved splodge of green surrounded by a handful of benches and some dog poo bins, it sits between the concrete of Gun Lane, and the Wilko and Asda car park.
Green is good. But biodiverse green is even better. Colour, better still. So the Painting The Town Green project has been breaking out plants instead of paints and has been planning, along with the local community how we can add a riot of colour to the churchyard.
An initial meeting with people from the church community, local social enterprises, businesses, care and wellbeing charities and local residents saw us sticking glitter dots all over pictures of our favourite flowers, and wishlisting features for the churchyard.
The size of the churchyard means we have three challenges: getting everything in the ground with enough time for a spectacular show of colour this summer; drenching everything sufficiently all summer so it beds in, doesn’t shrivel, and survives to provide all-season colour year after year; and not digging too deeply - finger deep should mean we're not digging up the fingers of our ancestors!
We’re starting the planting from 10am til 1pm on Saturday 14 May. Seeds, plug plants and pots of flowers are being ordered to nestle in the grass along the walls and ramps. Ox-eye daisies, Bellis perennis (common daisies), buttercups and pelargoniums are among the picks which should see an increase in happiness for people, bees and other wildlife.
Later this year, we will be planting a community herb garden and filling a large corner of the churchyard with a mass of Spring bulbs, as well as dotting some more round the wooden posts edging the grass for glorious splashes of colour.
Anyone who lives or works in Strood who wants to get involved can call us on 01622 662 012 or contact us via e-mail. We need volunteers all summer long. Stay up to date with our work on our website or Facebook group.