How a grassy dog’s toilet was turned into a beautiful garden

Open day for Torriano estate garden

Friday, 17th June — By Charlotte Chambers

Elisa Puentas at the Torriano Community Garden

Elisa Puentas at the garden

TWO gardeners who have transformed the garden on their estate are opening it to the public for the first time this weekend to raise money for charity.

Elisa Puentas and Jackie Thompson reshaped the Torriano Community Garden in Torriano Avenue into a haven for residents over the past 10 years.

On Sunday, the garden will open for the National Garden Scheme (NGS) for the first time.

The NGS has a history dating back to the early 1900s with a scheme to open private gardens to the public in order to raise money to pay for district nursing – at a time when the NHS did not exist. Nowadays, people can access more than 3,500 exceptional private gardens across the UK.

People turning up on the day between 2pm and 6pm will be asked to pay £4: half of the proceeds will go back into the garden, and the other half will go towards national charities such as Marie Curie Hospices and Macmillan Cancer Trust.

Ms Puentas, who has lived on the Torriano estate for more than 40 years, said: “I think it’s nice to open the garden and for people to see it’s a community garden. It’s a beautiful place.”

She added: “When I started here it was just grass. It was a dog’s toilet.”

Tom Gretton, who lives nearby in Huddleston Road, suggested the Torriano garden for the NGS scheme. He said: “It is a beautiful spot, and a really impressive community achieve­ment, whose joy-for-all power has seeped into the wider environment of the estate.”

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