Cable Street Community Gardens was ‘…founded in the late 1970’s as part of a Friends of the Earth initiative reclaiming derelict land for local community use…’ by an intrepid lady and a few friends and is now a haven of peace, productivity, and wild life on either side of the DLR in Tower Hamlets. ‘Community’ is important here, people know one another, and care. These are gardens rather than ‘allotments’ and they are organic gardens which are bursting with interest and life in all meanings of the word. The Cable Street Community Gardens will be open to the public during Open Garden Squares Weekend and they are a ‘must-visit’ in this area.
Fann Street Wildlife Garden puzzled me slightly – perhaps my visit was too brief during the Open Squares Weekend in London. However, it was the one garden which left me thinking.
The 4.5 acres of Belgrave Square were planted by Thomas Cubitt in 1826 – today it is quite simply stunning – parkland in the centre of London for residents of the square.
Eaton Square was started in 1826 for the Duke of Westminster, the landowner.
Chester Square was laid out in 1828-40 by the first Duke of Westminster and his architect, Thomas Cundy.
Eccleston Square dates from 1928 when Thomas Cubitt designed a 3-acre garden to replace the existing swamp. Today the garden is filled with unusual plants and trees and includes the National Ceanothus Collection.
I visited several squares on Sunday 14 June – all amazing! Kensington Square is one of the earliest garden squares in London, with layout beginning in 1692.
Queen’s Gate Gardens was laid out in the 1860s and we were asked to note the mulberry tree and the catalpa, both from the original plantings.
Hereford Square was built between 1845-50 and is actively managed by the residents, with many interesting and beautiful plants and trees.
Sunday 14 June, the second day of the Open Squares Weekend, started very early at The Roof Gardens on Kensington High Street – what a fantastic place!
The Roof Gardens covers 1.5 acres on the roof of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street and is now owned by Sir Richard Branson. In 1853 Joseph Toms started the small department store on Kensington High Street which became Derry and Toms in 1862 and which has changed ownership several times over the years. Trevor Bowen, Vice President of Barkers commissioned the gardens from Ralph Hancock and work started in 1936, with the gardens opening in 1938. Today the gardens remain open to the public.
We entered through the Spanish Garden which is modelled on the Alhambra in Granada.
The Tudor Gardens are planted with white – roses, arum lilies, paeonies, philadelphus – beautiful and peaceful.
The English Garden has lawns, trees, flamingoes, and a stream!
I visited gardens in the City of London during the Open Squares & Gardens Weekend and although Saturday 13 June (!) was cold and grey there were wonderful sights.
St Joseph’s Garden, EC1 8LE, is a tiny, quiet, green space.
The Golden Baggers, EC1Y 0ST, is a really imaginative enterprise in the middle of a housing estate where builders’ hessian bags are used as above-ground growing beds. It made my fingers itch to start a new garden!
The Girdlers’ Livery Company dates back to Mediaeval times and is no.23 by precedence. The original building of 1431 burned down in 1666, and the second Hall was destroyed in WWII. All the Halls have been built on roughly the original site bequeathed by Andrew Hunt in 1431 in today’s Basinghall Avenue. Today, with girdles no longer a fashion requirement, the Company is mainly involved in charitable work, including almshouses at Consort Road, Nunhead. I visited the garden during the Open Squares Weekend in London on 13 & 14 June. The Hall is surrounded by office buildings but looks over a green square managed by the Corporation of London.
The Girdlers’ Company garden is enclosed and on different levels, and while the main area is small it is beautiful, and peaceful.
The paeonies were over, just the dramatic seedpods remain, but the roses were beautiful.