The Honestone Car Park project was conceived and initiated in the spring 2018 by Valentina Kassam who was inspired by a Grow Well screening of a TED talk about Incredible Edible Todmorden. She shared her idea of beautifying the neglected beds in the car park and inspired a team of enthusiatic volunteers. Bideford Town council provided money on the recommendation of the Mayor and Peter Christie which enabled the team to buy some excellent plants from Dave's Plants from the Pannier Market. Dozens of rather tired plug plants arrived from Tesco most of which we managed to revive. Volunteers brought their own plants and gradually the beds became full of colourful and (some edible) perennials.
There were challenges – we had to wait for the go-ahead from the council which meant a delay in preparing the beds for planting. The beds were very weedy and extremely hard-panned – a pick-axe might have been handy! We managed not to break any forks (or backs) and with the help of some farmyard manure and some deep soaking the beds were eventually ready for their new floral residents. The next challenge of course was the drought and the heat, but help came from the adjacent Methodist Church who kindly allowed us to use their tap (and storage space for tools). In appreciation for their help and support, Lynda and some supporters started working on the bed alongside the Church.
It was heartening to see how people took responsibility for the beds. If they weren't able to come on the planned workdays, they would just get on with watering wherever they saw the need. The local community were supportive too, bringing us cups of tea, and on one occasion providing us with delicious chocolate brownies!