HUG Bird, Bee and Butterfly Garden at Ham Library - History

Following the successful setting up of the bench outside the Ham Library, HUG members agreed that, as there is at present no community centre or village hall in Ham, the Library clearly functions as the centre of the local community. However, the Library Garden was then barren and forlorn. HUG proposed the creation of a Bird and Butterfly Garden for the benefit of local residents. Many volunteers are involved in the planting, advertising and upkeep of the Garden.


In 2007, money was raised via a grant from Awards for All - Big Lottery Fund and with the help of local volunteers, both young and old, Richmond Housing Partnership, Mears and Scion, the area was transformed into the award winning garden you now see.




Between Winter 2007 and late Spring 2008, with the help of a number of local young people, HUG created two new flowerbeds from the existing three already in the Garden. One new bed was large and kidney-shaped whilst the other was smaller and round. A list of suitable plants was devised, including as many native species as possible. The round bed was planted with herbs and the kidney-shaped bed now has a selection of plants which attract butterflies and bees. Activities were held in the Library to raise awareness amongst the local community. In July 2008, the Garden received an Award of Merit in the Neighbourhood Awards category of ‘London in Bloom.' In 2009, the Library site was identified as having once formed part of the original Ham Farm Orchard. With this in mind, HUG decided to plant a mini orchard within the Library Garden selecting a variety of apple trees, three of which are native to Surrey.

The garden's rejuvenation has become an important community project and there is now a tree seat kindly donated by members of the Ham and Petersham Association.

A stag beetle loggery has been installed to provide a suitable habitat for female stag beetles to lay eggs which hatch after three weeks into tiny worm-like larvae. These can stay deep underground, feeding on dead wood, for up to seven years before they change into adult beetles.

The garden is constantly developing and always interesting. It is host to a wide range of plants and insects and is widely enjoyed by families as they sampled the delights of our local ice cream parlour.

The planting of 200 wild meadow flower plugs in the Library Garden, went very well. Several young families came along to help the seasoned gardeners and to learn how it's done. Our thanks to Ham Amenities Group who donated the wild flower plugs..

In Autumn 2008, bird boxes were hung in the Garden. Keen to recycle rainwater for watering the plants, HUG also installed a water butt with a child safety lid. (The lid was damaged in 2015 so the but is being replaced.)



The garden was judged to be ‘OUTSTANDING’ by London in Bloom in 2015 and again in 2016.



Tree seat kindly donated by members of the Ham and Petersham Association.



In 2014, the garden had matured so well & was so well used and loved, that it drew attention to the very dreary part along the Ham Street frontage. We held a competition to design a garden for that area.  It was was in deep shade, with alkaline clay so it presented a real challenge. Geoff Hyde judged the entries and our local MP presented the prize for the winning design to Zoe Varnava. We spent a year raising funds from Community First and from Richmond Council’s Civic Pride Fund as well as contributions from Ham Amenities Group and the Palm Centre. 


 The garden was installed on 3 workdays by more than 30 volunteers.


As any keen gardener knows the work is never finished, and we always welcome new people to help keep the Library garden a beautiful oasis for everybody.


Join us on Saturday 21st March 10-12 To transform it for this spring!




For more information please email,