Hitchin mum to appear on Big Dreams Small Spaces tonight alongside celebrity gardener Monty Don

Aletheia Mashiri in the garden with celebrity gardener Monty Don.

Aletheia Mashiri in the garden with celebrity gardener Monty Don. - Credit: Archant

A green-fingered mum-of-two from Hitchin whose front garden has become a community fruit and vegetable patch will be featured on BBC Two tonight.

Aletheia Mashiri at work in the garden.

Aletheia Mashiri at work in the garden. - Credit: Archant

Aletheia Mashiri will be on the programme alongside celebrity gardener Monty Don and his crew on Big Dreams Small Spaces as they drop into their home on the town’s Sunnyside estate.

Dozens of people have been involved in the effort to transform the Pulters Way garden, including neighbours, friends and local businesses, and surplus produce is put in a “#foodisfree” box by the front gate for folks to help themselves.

Aletheia, who grew up in Zimbabwe, said: “My main motivation in getting the word out has been to encourage people to get together as communities to help each other in this way.

“We stuck to a very small budget and used recycled materials – you don’t need an awful lot of money to do something like this.

“It’s all food crops – strawberries and blueberries – and vegetables that I am growing in raised beds, with complementary herbs and wild flowers to encourage beneficial insects, and a tiny pond for frogs.

“We put surplus veg and seedlings in the #foodisfree box, which others contribute their surplus in as well, as well as exchanging fruit, eggs and seedlings of their own.

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“Some people prefer to take the veg from the box than coming into the garden to pick it themselves – and others have preferred to leave a donation rather than taking the veg for free.

“That has allowed us to collect more than £20 for the autism charity Tracks.” Aletheia works as a specialist gardening assistant at a school in Luton which caters for people with special educational needs, and has also put together a garden there.

You can see Aletheia on Big Dreams Small Spaces on BBC Two tonight, Thursday, at 7pm.

For more information on her projects see aletheiamashiri.com.