Phoenix resident Peter Lewis standing in his garden holding an apple that was grown there
Peter Lewis
Wednesday 27th December 2017 - 10:16

Space to breathe

The 1920s Bellingham and Downham estates that make up much of Phoenix's housing stock were largely inspired by the Garden City movement. The aim of Garden Cities was to offer green space to residents of every background.

Peter Lewis is a resident Board Member and has had a plot in the Avondale Road communal garden since the 1990s.

I first got involved in Phoenix through our communal garden back of Avondale. I then joined all the committees that were about.

That would have been at the start of the 10 years, really, we came together. Phoenix was just everyone mucking in and enjoying it.

I have lived here for 22 years. This garden was similar back then - there were several elderly ladies who used to look after it, of course they passed away in the years, and an old chap, who died two years ago at 102, looked after his section.

It just evolves – we move around. There isn’t a bit of garden that comes with a property, we just accommodate everybody that comes along, especially if they’re keen, you know, we’ll take them.

Everybody enjoys it, and it’s a way of getting to see people coming past. People will come up to me and say, “Peter, I haven’t seen Ken today” or “I haven’t seen Peter today, on the ground floor,” and we all know what’s going on, and it’s a good community.

I wouldn’t give this up for the world. The neighbours here are marvellous.

I’ve always been keen on gardening - I had an allotment before I came here - but I never expected to become involved as much as this.

We won the first prize at Phoenix In Bloom for our communal garden. Then they invited me to go round and become a judge for the competition. If you go around the communal gardens all across Phoenix, they’re very, very good.

Over the years, our Phoenix green spaces have been good, so we want to keep them good.

I can spend six hours in this garden and in the good weather, I’m down here all the time. The neighbours all stop and chat, it’s the way I stay in touch.