In a patch of land behind the Hornsey Central Health Centre in Crouch End, and surrounded by new builds, lies a meadow. It feels like a secret garden, to gain access to it you have to walk though the health centre car park.
The Meadow Orchard is a community garden that has a meadow, vegetable and herb garden and lots and lots of fruit trees. It’s run by volunteers (and you can join in and help every Saturday) and it sort of follows the permaculture way of gardening.
We went there to see a production of Old Saw’s Meadow that took place in the newly built cob house. The play was beautiful. A story about a day and a night in a meadow and the animals that live there. It was performed with almost no dialogue and ingenious puppets that were formed from parts of the scenery. An old, rusty watering can and funnel would form a fox, fairy lights became glow bugs, and wicker baskets and balls hidden in the long grass turned into rabbits.
The performers captivated everyone. Although this play was aimed at children three years plus, even Arthur was entranced and happy to sit on my lap for the whole 45 minutes of the show, watching all the movements and listening to the gentle, magical soundtrack by Paul Mosley. Although it wasn’t really an interactive show, the children really wanted to interact with the animals (especially the rabbits) and sometimes the fourth wall was broken for just a little bit, which was good as Betsy’s most favourite part was the stag (formed of two branches and a big bit of tree bark) nibbling on the piece of grass Boo held up to it.
After the show we all felt inspired to explore more of the Meadow Orchard. It really does feel like a community garden with everyone there welcoming and chatty and the children who saw the show loved to run around and help water some of the plants. The geodome that had been built was a particular favourite spot for the kids, providing shade and a place to sit while also providing support for the newly planted vines growing up it.
There’s quite a few events happening at the meadow soon. On the 30th of August is a community day. If you’re close you should definitely come and see this lovely, hidden gem.