(Photo: Diana Jarvis)
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden was created in spring 2010 to provide much-needed public green space in an area with little. Just off busy Dalston Lane, this 'secret' garden is hidden behind hoarding next to the Hackney Peace Carnival mural and visitors enter through a wooden doorway into a peaceful haven.
The garden was built on the site of a disused railway line that had been derelict for over 50 years. It was developed as part of Making Space in Dalston, a Design for London-funded project to improve public space in the area. It won a Hackney Design Award in 2010 and Making Space for Dalston won the 2011 Landscape Institute's President's Award.
A large wooden pavilion is the focal point for community events and it regularly houses music, dance, cooking and gardening activities, as well as being a relaxing meeting place. Most of the garden furniture has been constructed on site from reclaimed wood and recycled pallets from the nearby Ridley Road market.
Structural planting includes silver birch and alder, small 'copses' of hazel and wild cherry, and a native hedgerow. Fruit, vegetables and herbs, chosen for their ornamental value as well as taste, are grown in a series of large raised beds and are used in the garden's on-site café. The garden is tended by volunteers, including children and young people. No chemicals are used, all garden material is composted on site and rainwater is collected in recycled whiskey barrels.
Additional projects include the Pineapple House - a large greenhouse for garden and environmental education, a community-built clay oven for fresh pizzas and cooking with garden produce and bee-friendly planting.
Capital Growth garden: