The West Norwood ‘Bzz Garage’ is the first in the UK to have bees, an orchard and a community flowerbed. Situated on the corner of a noisy junction with HGVs and buses speeding by, the Bzz Garage proudly displays its range of produce, including honey, carrots, apples and cherries. Founder Wayne Trevor explains that “I often passed the patch and thought about planting in it, but didn’t think I’d be allowed”. He was approached in 2016 by Open Works, a project helping to create a sustainable future for West Norwood, who allowed Trevor to use the tiny scrap of land. Months later, and that land has bloomed with the aid of local residents. Trevor says that “as long as the space is cared for, the garage staff are happy – it’s a win for them too, as they no longer have to pay to keep it weed-free.”

On a monthly basis, community volunteers are invited to plant, prune and pot in the garage’s flowerbed and orchard. Local residents have repaid Trevor with baked cherry pies, made using the produce from the garden’s urban orchard. “They all really see the value of what we’re doing, and they are constantly giving back to us,” he says.

Some of what is grown in the Bzz Garage is handed out free – cherries, bags of rocket, lavender – and some produce is on offer at Feast, a local market, for a donation. “We just don’t want any of it to go to waste, so will do with it what we can.” Trevor hopes that the produce is used to educate people on what can be grown in the community, and as a tool to reconnect people with the soil, even in this dense urban environment. “Seeing the look on the face of adults who suddenly realise that the sunflower seeds they buy from Holland and Barrett are the same as those used to grow the beautiful yellow flowers is priceless. And that’s worth getting up for on any rainy winter morning.”

The Bzz Garage recently won Lambeth’s Cleaner and Greener award, sprouting more support for the initiative. “It’s been great to have the network of support, and we’ve been able to really give back to the community, here in West Norwood”.

Erin Ramsden, Dunraven School