Following on from last year’s visits to community gardens in London as well as my recent Drovers Walk I am always looking out for signs of rus in urbe and in particular continuing evidence of edible London. Open Garden Squares weekend included some interesting finds. Near the sign above, just north of King’s Cross is a community garden run by Alara, the health food company. This is squeezed into edgelands, unused land on an industrial estate and includes a permaculture forest garden with pomegranate, Japanese wineberry, goji berry and other perennial food plants. A vineyard has pride of place next to a lorry park, and an orchard by a cash and carry. The communal compost heap is available to anyone.
Even nearer to King’s Cross is The Skip Garden, a mobile allotment on one of the largest development sites in Europe. With a yurt for educational use and a cafe, this is a popular spot, used by local children and businesses.
Edible London is really catching on this year with the South Bank and Kew Gardens joining in with special festivals.
The Festival of Neighbourhood on the South Bank by the Thames has the Queens’s Walk Window Gardens, mini allotments and window boxes created from reclaimed windows, with planting arranged by families of vegetables.
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has IncreEdibles. As well as the Tutti Frutti boating experience featuring pineapples, there is a wonderful Alice in Wonderlandish Rose Garden Tea Party installation and a Global Kitchen Garden.