Behind the reeds in front of the Pumphouse at Lavender Pond is another secret pond and a cool woodland area, and you can visit both on Saturday 17 June 2017 during the Open Garden Squares Weekend. This small nature reserve in the former Surrey Commercial Docks is a haven for wildlife – peaceful and quiet on the edge of the Thames and in sight of the towers of Canary Wharf. The entrance is on Rotherhithe Street, past the ‘works end’ of the site.
I visited Lavender Pond last year and posted on the historical origins of this interesting small nature reserve fashioned out of the remains of part of the Surrey Commercial Docks. The Pond was originally much bigger and used for floating logs to keep them from splitting. ‘In 1928 the entrance to the pond was blocked when the Port of London Authority built the Pumphouse on the site to control the water levels in Surrey Docks. In 1970 the Docks were closed. The area became neglected and the pond was filled in, but in 1981 the pond was re-created as part of a nature reserve.‘ As you can see from the map below the ‘pond’ was an enormous area. Do visit this excellent blog for detailed history of the docks.
The Pumphouse stands at the head of the Pond and the remains of the lock gate are still in place, and still functioning. The channel into the Thames is clear and from the mouth, at river, Canary Wharf is just a stone’s throw away. Traffic up and down the river is slightly different these days and it is startling to realise how quickly the changes have come.
The large pond in front of the Pumphouse is enjoyed by the birds, and the local residents throughout the year – you can sit on the benches and enjoy the flowers and wildlife in complete peace and quiet.
And then there is the ‘secret pond’ behind the rushes, with an area of woodland which will develop into a magical place as the years pass.
An interesting paper on the history of the Surrey Commercial Docks
The Docklands History Group
A walk around the Surrey Docks
Cable Street Community Gardens will be open on Sunday 18 June during Open Garden Squares Weekend – do visit! I posted a general view of the gardens previously but I had to return because the roses are just …. well, I can’t really find the words because ‘beautiful’, ‘elegant’, ‘delightful’, ‘fragrant’ don’t begin to describe the wonder of these exquisite blooms alongside the DLR in Tower Hamlets. The roses were just as beautiful last year – standing proud, draped over fences and arches, and climbing into trees, the scent mingling with honeysuckle and jasmine.
Cable Street Community Garden will be open again this year, on Sunday 18 June, during the Open Garden Squares Weekend. This peaceful site is one of several in the historic Docklands Area in London and I was lucky to have a preview this week. The site is in Hardinge Street, just off Cable Street – which is a very clear clue to the history of the area – and is c.2 acres of organic gardens on either side of the Docklands Light Railway. The gardens are locked for safety so don’t miss this opportunity to visit this remarkable and magical haven and meet its friendly gardeners.
OK, that’s it – I have had enough of fighting the snails and slugs in the London garden and I cannot bear to put down chemicals and pick up the bodies afterwards. So I am going to find plants which they do not eat and only use those plants.
From Bina Gardens I strolled to Gledhow Gardens, another amazing green space hidden between tall buildings, some of which front on to a busy main road. The gardens are owned by the residents and date back to the 1840s when the Gunter family started building in the area. The gardens were laid out in the 1890s.
The trees in the square are particularly beautiful.
There was this pretty flower – does anyone know what it is? And a lovely violet fuchsia (Gayrigg?).
The Philadelphus was in full flower, and there were at least two varieties (Virginal and perhaps Beauclerk) .
There were lots of pretty geraniums (Geranium Oxonianum, I think), and some roses.
This peaceful and lush garden has been cleverly designed and planted to created different areas and climates. Treed walks are filled with shade-loving plants, and the play of light through the leaves is marvellous.
There are unusual plants and trees – variegated Kerria and Cornus help to lighten the narrow space. Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ is a delight, and the Paperbark Birch tree is beautiful.
This is a quiet, peaceful haven hidden between the buildings and created by enthusiastic triumvirate of ladies. Do visit next year!