Churchyard is still buzzing

Luckily for us, plants keep growing.

Whilst the garden team has been on and off furlough, the churchyard survives to bloom another day. Viv and her team of volunteers, armed with secateurs and wheelbarrows, are back at last in their favourite place, keeping the churchyard looking lovely.

Thanks are due particularly to three wonderful volunteers who have kept the garden going through difficult times: Luis who swept leaves and kept everything tidy; Jenny O’Neill who weeded and watered through the drought of last spring; Chris Daniels, regular as clockwork, who mows and works, whatever the weather.

We now welcome new volunteers to our team, so please come and talk to Viv in the churchyard, on Mondays or Wednesdays, if you are interested in joining us.

We are proud of many small achievements due to the hard work of the team, including:

  • the spring cyclamens and scilla border in the topiary area near the front gate, with its delicate and colourful display.

  • the narcissi, hellebores and tulips in the herbaceous border along the Secker Street wall.

  • the recovery of the Parterre box hedging from box tree caterpillar and the renewal of those little plots with hardy geraniums and hellebores.

  • and our replanting with flowering shrubs the mosaic seating area near the front gate.

The churchyard will play host to the Waterloo Festival sculpture exhibition in June, after which, the church will close for refurbishment in early July. We will continue to maintain and enhance the garden but will lose the border along the south side of the church for a year as it will be hoarded off. We aim to minimise damage to our special plants, by moving or cutting them back. Until then we hope for the usual display of fragrant roses, opium poppies, larkspur, salvia and geranium Royal Oak.

After the Easter break, our horticultural students from Roots and Shoots have also returned! This is a good trade-off – they provide youthful joy and muscle, and we hope they are having fun and learning a bit about gardening.

Finally, we have begun another year in our successful partnership with Lambeth Council; they support Viv’s position as Senior Community Gardener, and provide funding for plants and materials.

So much to look forward to. Let’s get started.


The Churchyard sits at the heart of our work and life at St John's Waterloo and The Bridge At Waterloo. Through our new flagship programme, Waterloo Well, a new programme will be developed in our churchyard and at local hostel gardens to give hostel residents basic gardening and horticulture skills, and the opportunity to experience the pleasure of working outdoors with others.