By Catherine Miller, London Development Officer for the
Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens
(Click on a garden name for further information. Click on a photo to
I started the weekend at a shady little garden at the side of the Union
Chapel in Highbury, Melissa Bee Sanctuary, where there was fascinating information on offer about
these clever creatures - and the bees didn't mind the music going on
From here I took the Overground to visit the Cordwainers
Garden, which is located by the side of
a fashion college, with herb beds, fruit and vegetables, organised by a
community group determined to get some green education into this built-
up part of Hackney.
Next to Core Arts Core Landscape's Pop-up Garden and Plant Nursery
in Canning Town by Overground and DLR;
this part of London could be described as the wild east, with building
development and cranes everywhere; so it was good to see a pop-up
garden here. Five months ago the site was all rubble, so a liner was laid
down with woodchips on top, and raised beds made for veg. There were
plants for sale and a polytunnel constructed, ready to grow more. They
reported 40 visitors through OGSW by midday.
On the DLR to Nomura, a spectacular city rooftop garden with
beautiful lawns, lavender and herbaceous planting, as well as a veggie
patch. This must be one of the best viewpoints in London, straight over
the Thames - quite exhilarating to have a garden space up here.
I took the bike by Overground to Richmond - a trip to the countryside
and cycled on the road by river meadows to Ham, and St Michael's
Convent, a blissfully peaceful walled garden where you felt there
had been gardeners here who loved the place for many years. Vaut le
détour, as they say. The serenity here was a complete antidote to
From here to Ham House and a fabulous 17th-century
walled kitchen garden with apricots
trained on the wall, cabbages and raspberries grown with lilies,
foxgloves and roses. A geometric garden was just shades of green - four
plants: yew, santolina, lavender and box. There was a long border near
the house with herbaceous plants - lots for the keen gardener to admire.
It was a bit of an adventure back to Richmond via the Thames Path,
which I forded on the bike, as it literally had a foot of Thames water on
it. Locals are used to it and it is to do with the tide, apparently.
Sunday was a cycling day - first to St George's Fields, a 70s estate
off Hyde Park with interesting planting, nice to explore with just the
sound of blackbirds, wrens and robins.
Next to Pembridge Square,
beautifully planted with unusual combinations, a maze, play area and
Then on to Holland House Garden, a peaceful
green space fronting part of an old mansion, with water plants.
My final visits of the day were to: Rosmead Garden,
a large green with
houses backing on to it, and a busy pop-up café in a resident's house,
raising funds for an African charity;
Hanover Gardens, a huge open
space - nice, sloping, characterful - and friendly people;
Gardens, a large green space adjoining the church, with some nice
and St Quintin's Avenue Community Kitchen Garden, a busy
food-growing garden festooned with bunting, with plenty of well tended
plots for local people.
Everywhere I went, people were reporting good visitor numbers.
I love getting out and exploring London's fifty shades of
green on this weekend. Long may it grow and flourish.