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Highbury horticulturist calls on artists to help design community garden

PUBLISHED: 13:28 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:41 17 June 2019

Paul Saunders is appealing for artists to help design his community garden. Picture: Joshua Hurston

Paul Saunders is appealing for artists to help design his community garden. Picture: Joshua Hurston

© Joshua Thurston - All Rights Reserved

A horticulturist is calling on artists to help beautify a community garden near Highbury Corner to compensate for trees being felled for a housing development.

Paul Saunders is appealing for artists to help design his wildflower meadow. Picture: Joshua HurstonPaul Saunders is appealing for artists to help design his wildflower meadow. Picture: Joshua Hurston

Landscape gardener Paul Saunders, 52, wants to counterbalance the loss of greenery at the front of Dixon Clarke Court, in Canonbury Lane, by building a "wild flower meadow" with a beehive and sculptures carved from tree trunks.

Islington planners approved plans for 41 new homes, two thirds of which for social rent, on the estate last summer - leading to the loss of mature trees and a car park. But Paul has salvaged the fallen tree trunks and want local artists to help make sculptures out of them.

"We're losing a hell' of a lot of green space around here, especially with the pollution," he told the Gazette. "But housing is very important, we know that.

"It would be fantastic to have local artists come along and design something to pay homage to the trees being taken away for housing.

"It's going to be a nice show piece to give more awareness to the environment."

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There were 47 trees "on site or off site with canopy overhanging on to [the estate]" and 17 have been axed for the new development. But Islington has committed to protecting the rest.

The gardener hopes to create an educational space, where the community can about the 250 plus variety of bees in the UK - and the unsung beetles who also pollinate flowers. He's already marked out flower beds and wants to use the tree bark for footpaths - but he need your help to transform the plot

At Paul's last home, in Tollington Park, he created a rooftop garden to drive away the "drug addicts and prostitutes" who previously gathered in the secluded spot.

But the garden was dismantled after a row with his estate agent and Paul moved to Dixon Clarke Court two years ago.

Paul was forced to retire after he was savagely beaten by two men in Holloway Road eight years ago. The attack gave him epilepsy.

"I was beaten up very badly," he said. "But I'm receiving compensation money because it was attempted murder."

He's now committed to transforming the green space around his estate, so the community can enjoy it for years to come.

Anyone who's interested in getting involved should email: paulsaunders8866@gmail.com

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