Our community

Our celebration of the Chelsea Fringe – the alternative garden festival – in Olden Garden in May 2022 was a great success.

Over 350 visitors from our local community came along to enjoy tea and cakes and an afternoon of entertainment from music groups performing throughout the garden and woodland. A huge thank you to everyone involved!

Watch a clip of our musical celebration in Olden Garden during the Chelsea Fringe in 2016. This video was created with much help from volunteers, as a contribution to Highbury Heritage, a resource created by Christ Church Highbury to meet the community engagement criteria of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant to repair its iconic church spire.

Enjoy our musical comedy with a rap celebrating the Chelsea Fringe 2021. Kate Shortt will take you to the greenhouse and the graffiti as she plays her ‘Air on a G-string’ on her cello in the Garden. With thanks to Laura and Andy for filming.

As our second musical contribution to the Chelsea Fringe 2021, Kate Shortt plays ‘The Swan’ from the Carnival of the Animals on her cello in the Garden. With thanks to Laura and Andy for filming.


Supporting local families through our Vegetable Patch

Olden Garden Veg Patch continues to support food growing across Islington whenever possible. During the Easter holiday, Lynne ran a session for 60 reception children from Thornhill Primary School – at the wonderful new Outdoor Classroom at Carfree Open Space. Each child received a large pot from Olden Garden and Lynne gave them hands on experience in filling the pots with compost, identifying different seeds and planting pea shoots, spring onions and nasturtiums. Children labelled their pots with giant lolly sticks and proudly took them home. Starting early with food growing – making edible pots – see instructions .

Spring 2022 and our greenhouse is full of salad leaves from the veg crew. After a challenging autumn, we now have rainbow chard, mustard greens, parsley, various lettuce and chicories, underplanted with spring onion. Outside, in the raised beds, garlic is coming up well; red veined chicory and stridolo both looking good.

Continuing our ‘outreach’, Lynne is running an edible planting session with 60 reception class children as part of Forests for Change Outdoor Classroom. Olden Garden is providing pots for all the children. Lynne’s vegetable patch spring 2022

Spreading Olden Garden seeds through the community – Lynne’s herbs and seeds August 2021

Despite the antics of families of foxes, Olden Garden continues to be a hub for community vegetable growing – Lynne’s Vegetable Patch summer 2021

By early 2021 the project had gone from strength to strength – Lynne’s Vegetable Patch spring 2021

During the Covid lockdown restrictions in 2020, Olden Garden provided facilities to enable families to take part in a seed kit project which provides seeds, pots, compost and instructions for any children wanting to have a go at growing – Lynne’s Vegetable Patch 2020



Supporting our local community

Our Garden House and patio provide the ideal environment for awaydays and training days for staff from our local social services teams.

We know that many families don’t have gardens of their own and we are particularly keen for young people to experience gardens and nature. We are pleased that the following groups are involved and hope more will return in the autumn

  • Highbury Community Nursery
  • Monkey Puzzle Nursery at the Loxfords

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Planting for Spring!

On Bulb Planting Day, Caroline, our gardener, led 20 volunteers planting snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, miniature iris, wood anemone and allium. We hope the squirrels don’t dig them up! Just in case, some bulbs were planted in pots and safely stored in our greenhouse. Volunteers without gardens were given daffodil bulbs in pots, to grow on their window sills at home. Homemade cakes and tea were enjoyed by all.

On Saturday 20th November, 10am – 4pm, we need volunteers to help with leaf gathering to make ‘leafmould’, our own compost.

Andrew retires as our gardener

We marked Andrew’s last day as our gardener with coffee and Jill’s delicious cake. For over 10 years Andrew gave advice to our Committee and guidance and encouragement to our volunteers, helping to develop and maintain Olden Garden as a valuable community resource. We will miss him.

Volunteer with us on Tuesday 28th September

Workdays are open to everyone, not just Garden members. New volunteers are welcome. Gardening experience is not necessary.

Come along and join us for coffee and biscuits and help look after the Garden. We need more volunteers! The Garden door will be open 10am to 4pm.

The alternative garden festival

Kate Shortt in 2021