Livia was killed by a driver who mounted the pavement where she was walking. Attached to that pavement stood a derelict site, full of garbage, needles and broken bottles.
The custom is to lay flowers by the spot or the roadside to mark a life lost but flowers decay and distress increases. So it was that one morning, shortly after Livia’s death, her mother took the bull by the horns, marched into the nearby station, Enfield Chase and began the process of enquiry that to led to the memorial garden being built.
Railtrack, now Network Rail, to whom the land belongs, WAGN (Enfield Chase), Balfour Beatty, Enfield Environmental Services, The Preservation Society, Paramount Gardens in Crews Hill, family and people from Enfield, all contributed to the transformation in one way or another – by permission granted, by clearing by the borough engineers, with gifts of topsoil, landscaping, benches, plants, palm trees, a rubbish bin and, finally,donations! Livia’s family also contributed to the costs, and Livia’s life assurance policy having been redeemed, was ploughed back into the garden. So all round, quite an investment and an entrustment!
The financial and physical upkeep of the garden is now the responsibility of the family but all donations, that are gratefully received, and that are earmarked for the Garden, are deposited into the The Livia Memorial Fund and used for its upkeep.
Livia’s Garden is Mediterranean-inspired and spends a lot of the year being green. It is usually at its best from around late May when the pittosporum, ballerina roses and others, oleanders, lavender, bottle brushes and the jasmine begin to blossom. At its best, it is beautiful and whatever time of year, it has been described as a haven of peace.
It is cared for by Livia’s family but the communities’ real gardeners have been most generous in their embrace of Its efforts so over the years, since 2000, Enfield in Bloom has entered the garden into the Enfield in Bloom, London Garden Society and Great Britain in Bloom (once!) competitions, wherein it has won a category trophy or accolades.
In 2008, The Livia Memorial Garden won three fabulous awards for
♪Exceptional Horticultural Contribution for the Local Community,Enfield in Bloom
♪Garden Display in a Public Place, The London Garden Society
♪Brightening London and the City’s Biodiversity, London’s Green Corners, The Conservation Foundation.
In 2010, June Winner
Community Green Corners supported and judged by Archant London
Excerpt from Press information
London in the Green
Eleven green corners have been chosen for June with Kensington and Chelsea coming out as the month’s greenest borough with five winners. The Royal Borough scooped the prizes for the Mews, Pavement, On The Move, Health and Wellbeing and School categories. From a flower filled Addison Place mews to the Meanwhile Garden in the shadow of the famous Trellick Towers, a colourful pavement plot tended by nearby Estate Agent John Wilcox and the Chelsea Open Air Nursery’s secret garden to the Rug Shop’s street front brightened by charming planted pots and boxes, K&C had a blooming fantastic June.
The Community and No Man’s Land awards went to Enfield, for Livia’s Garden, created in memory of a beloved daughter and the Alleyway, a between street cut through brought into exuberant bloom by a community minded local resident. Both these gardens have been featured in the Gardening Against The Odds Awards launched by The Conservation Foundation in association with The Sunday Telegraph and Green & Black’s Organic. This new award is in memory of Green Corners judge Elspeth Thompson, who died this spring.
The Awards celebrate the Londoners whose green corners brighten our lives and improve the capital’s biodiversity. There are monthly winners who will go forward to the Grand Finals next spring for judging by a panel of celebrities and gardening experts.
Anyone can enter a green corner or nominate one that catches their eye – a garden isn’t a requirement. For full details visit www.conservationfoundation.co.uk
Community Green Corners, supported and judged by Archant London
Livia’s Garden in Enfield opened in October 1999, on what would have been Livia Galli-Atkinson’s 18th birthday. The previous January she had been killed by a car that mounted the adjacent pavement where she was walking to her ballet class. Her parents, with the support of the local community, created a beautiful garden nearby.
As Livia’s mother Giulietta explains, “The beauty of the garden is that people love to come to sit in it and some folk have planted roses in memory of a loved one: girls in memory of their mums, an Argentinean in memory of his wife, parents in memory of their 17 yr old. It is a little haven of tranquillity and much of it takes care of itself.”
Archant London Editorial Director Bob Crawley, who judged this category, says, “I think it is has to be Livia's Garden...for lots of reasons. It is without doubt a beautiful spot created following such a terrible tragedy and holds a lot of memories. Turning a derelict plot into such a tranquil garden has clearly been a labour of true love.”
Standing ovation for Livia
Closed when it rains and in the winter months
The Livia Memorial Garden
The Livia Memorial Fund & Awards