For one very special weekend this June, over 200 green spaces – many usually closed to the public – will open their gates for public enjoyment and discovery. With the purchase of a Weekend ticket, you can explore London’s urban gardens, and enjoy a host of activities and experiences for all the family.
The London Parks and Gardens Trust is focusing is on three themes for 2018, and you can explore all of these in your garden visits: commemorating the bicentenary of the death of influential landscape designer Humphrey Repton, whose work can be seen in the grounds of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney; the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, brought into focus at Roe Green Walled Garden, part of a garden village built for aircraft factory workers; and the important role that women have played in gardening and garden design. This last is the easiest to access: many of our spaces are shaped by female gardeners and designers, including the magical Cable Street Community Gardens, managed by Jane Sill for over 30 years.
With so many amazing and unique opportunities to enjoy London’s secret gardens it’s impossible to showcase the highlights, but here are a few of our favourites. To See the full range of gardens open to the public this weekend and to purchase your ticket
North West London: St Johns Wood NW8 OSW
Alexander Road Park Saturday 10.00 – 16.00
A unique modernist sculpted linear park, that is integral to surrounding housing. The park was designed in the 1970s by architect Neave Brown and landscape architect Janet Jack. It was restored with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2015. The design features a series of outdoor rooms and new play parks designed by Erect Architects, with landscaping by J+L Gibbons. The planting is based on the original planting plans which had an emphasis on endurance as the site is a playground to the many children living in the surrounding housing and their friends as well as to the general public
South East London: Surrey Quays
Lavender Pond & Nature Park 10.00 – 16-00
Lavender Pond was created in 1981 as part of the regeneration of the Surrey Commercial Docks and designated a local nature reserve in 2005.
The original dock walls and locks remain alongside the old pumphouse. Covering 2.5 acres in total, ponds are the park’s main feature. Boardwalks lead through extensive stands of reed, a colourful marsh area and on through woodlands, and a second, hidden pond. This peaceful park demonstrates creative ecology and conservation, showing how new habitats can be created for wildlife while allowing local people contact with nature through the commun
South West London: East Putney SW15 3SW
Royal Hospital for Neuro Disability Sunday 11.00 – 16.00 Viewings by tour only- On the hour between 11.00 & 15.00
The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability has been on its beautiful elevated site on West Hill, Putney since 1863. There are views over north west and south west London. The grounds include an award-winning cloister garden and several patient gardens. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown had a hand in designing the estate, as did another prominent landscape gardener, Humphry Repton. The considerable role played by both Brown and Repton in the design of the grounds makes the gardens of great interest. Brown designed an open landscape of grass and trees, a lake and a home farm. Evidence of his original designs remain
East London: Dalston
Dalston Eastern Curve Saturday 11.00 -22.30 | Sunday 11.00 -22.00
This ‘secret’ and award-winning garden is hidden behind a wooden doorway next to the Hackney Peace Carnival Mural and was converted from a derelict railway line in 2010 The wooden pavilion and Pineapple House host community and educational events as well as music, dance, cooking and relaxing. Planting includes silver birch, alder, hazel and wild cherry. Fruit, vegetables and herbs, grown in raised beds, is used in the garden’s on-site licensed café. The garden is bee-friendly and tended by volunteers of all ages, rainwater is collected for watering the raised beds and all waste garden material is composted on site
West London Hammersmith
Sycamore House Saturday 14.00 – 17.00
Sycamore House is sheltered housing for the over-60s run by Hammersmith United Charities. The charity celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2018 The garden was designed and planted in March 2012. This is a completely hidden oasis right in the middle of Shepherd’s Bush.The garden won 3rd place for large community garden 2017 rom The London Garden Society. It is a sister scheme to John Betts House.Features include plants to encourage bees and butterflies, a pond, a pergola and arches for climbing plants, and a large community greenhouse.
North London: Islington
Melissa Gardens Bee Sanctuary Saturday 10.00 – 17.00 Sunday 10.00 – 17.00
This very small garden is adjacent to the Union Chapel, which was first built in 1809. Its enclosed and unique feel is due to the Victorian Gothic church tower, a landmark in the local area, which overshadows the garden. The Melissa Garden Bee Sanctuary (Melissa being the ancient Greek word for ‘bee’) was established by a local educational charity, New Acropolis Cultural Association, built and maintained by volunteers. It was established in 2012 to create a space for bees, not with a view to harvesting the honey, but to give the bees a protected home. The most recent addition to the garden design is an alchemical-themed living wall incorporating some medicinal plants. Garden Maintenance Manager: Miha Kosir
North West London: Maida Vale
Crescent Garden W9 Sunday 10.00 -17.00
Recently given an award as London’s best large private garden square, Crescent Garden is a three-acre communal garden, just off Warrington Crescent. It is surrounded by stucco-fronted houses dating from around 1865, including a grade II-listed balconied terrace.In the 1970s local residents defeated plans by the Church Commissioners to turn the garden into communal car parking. Today it has lawns, a fine set of interesting trees, island beds and many unusual plants and shrubs. There is also a children’s play area. The area was bombed in WW1, when enemy planes mistook the canals of Little Venice for the river Thames.
Central London: Kings Cross
Calthorpe Community Garden
Recently given an award as London’s best large private garden square, Crescent Garden is a three-acre communal garden, just off Warrington Crescent. It is surrounded by stucco-fronted houses dating from around 1865, including a grade II-listed balconied terrace. In the 1970s local residents defeated plans by the Church Commissioners to turn the garden into communal car parking. Today it has lawns, a fine set of interesting trees, island beds and many unusual plants and shrubs. There is also a children’s play area. The area was bombed in WW1, when enemy planes mistook the canals of Little Venice for the river Thames. Garden Associates: Robert Player