In the centre of London’s Soho, apartment blocks reach sky high on all sides, and the smoggy hum of traffic hangs in among wild flowers where we are sitting, on broken plastic chairs, discussing spiders.

Chris, resident gardener here at The Phoenix community gardens, is introducing his new park benches. The wooden seats are mounted on a rock-filled gabion base: a durable, cheap and locally sourced design full of cracks for spiders, centipedes and hibernating ladybirds to crawl into. Quiet corners are in short supply in this part of town and like the gaps between the rocks of its park benches, ...


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