In 2016 Karen led the design and creation of a new community garden for Cultivate London in Isleworth at The Salopian Garden held on a 25-year lease by the National Trust.

The Salopian Garden is named after the popular 18th century drink made from orchid roots which used to be served when the site was a carriage staging post along the London Road. The last private owner of the house, Miss June Temple, died in 2004 and left her property – a small cottage and the large garden – to the National Trust. After several years of neglect, during which the once-beautiful garden became overgrown, the NT leased the garden to local charity Cultivate London.

Before work began.

The garden had become completely overgrown, with a few polytunnels struggling amongst the nettles and brambles. Karen led a team of volunteers and helpers doing their community payback to create a beautiful garden bursting with productivity and beauty. They worked to clear brambles and rubbish, and then to build paths, cob oven, raised beds, decked polytunnel, wooden log cabin, wildflower meadow, bee hives etc to create ‘a little piece of paradise in Isleworth’.

The Salopian is now a community space.

It is now used as a community space, and also trains young and old in horticulture. Jutta Wagner, co-author on The Family Kitchen Garden, drew up the plans.