anita strasser



McMillan Herb Garden

McMillan Herb Garden is a little community garden in Deptford, tucked away behind a brick wall just around the corner from where I live. I had walked past it for three years thinking it was a private garden, before, through a strange coincidence in spring 2012, I was introduced to three of the main volunteers there: Mick, Diane and Richard. And, of course, Sam the dog. I was immediately enchanted by this small space full of beautifully arranged plants and artworks, lovingly looked after by the three and other volunteers. Without any hesitation I asked if they would allow me to photograph the garden, and since then I have been a regular visitor documenting the kids’ workshops, gigs, poetry events, grape and berry picking, and other work being done. It is a close-knit community of local people who keep the garden going on a tiny, often non-existent, budget, and access is only possible at the occasional event or through Mick or Diane. I feel privileged to have found a little garden of Eden amidst buildings and walls, where I can sit in peace and forget the fact that I am in the middle of a big city; where people work together, with their hands, with earth and plants, berries and grapes, wood and stone, tiles and clay. When I enter McMillan Herb Garden, I forget the noise and stress of daily life, and shutting the gate behind me compares with the tranquillity I feel when in the countryside, just on a much smaller piece of land.