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

The Autumn 2022 highlight was our very successful potato harvest, held at half term. Families and children came along to dig up the potatoes. Several varieties of potato came up, blue, yellow, red, purple and white – a rainbow of colours! And everyone had a bag of potatoes to take home. We are enjoying the rain, celebrating how well our seaside bed of sea cabbage, sea kale and sea beet is doing and dreaming of spring.

Although the Summer 2022 heatwave means lots of watering, it also means a decline in the slug and snail population! So, we have French beans, runners and courgettes all doing well. In the raised beds are celery, leeks and tomatoes. In the greenhouse, basil is looking fabulous and we had a good strawberry crop.  We are supporting a new Islington group – ‘Welcoming neurodiversity in our community’.  See Lynne’s Veg Patch summer 2022

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.

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 .

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 and school pupils to experience gardens and nature.

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Volunteer with us on Saturday 16th July and bring your family for a summer holiday activity

Caroline, our gardener, will lead family activities in the Garden. Come along and sow fast growing herbs in pots to take home. Everyone is welcome.

It looks like the heatwave will continue to Saturday so we will need to water the borders and pots. There will be weeding to do and some sowing of biennial seeds.

Join us for an hour – or longer. Coffee and biscuits will be available.


Join us for Have a Grow Day and Volunteer Gardening Day, Saturday 18 June

Visitors to Olden Garden are welcome to help celebrate Have a Grow Day, an initiative of Social Farms and Gardens. Come along at any time between 10am – 4pm on Saturday 18 June. Caroline, our gardener, will welcome you. Visitors can help with the day’s volunteer gardening tasks. You will be able to see our extensive woodland and the orchard as well as our greenhouse and vegetable plots, learning more about how our garden grows.

Information about vegetable growing will be available and volunteers will be able to sow herb seeds in a pot to take home with them.

Visit Olden Garden on Saturday 11 June with your Weekend Ticket to London Square Open Gardens

Book your Open Gardens Weekend Ticket

100+ gardens not normally open to the public, including Olden Garden, will throw open their gates to visitors on 11 – 12 June.

Please note that Weekend Tickets are only available to purchase online, you will not be able to buy them at the garden gate. Book online now and you will instantly receive an e-ticket which you can show to our volunteers on your mobile device or print at home in advance. For further information see London Square Open Gardens

The alternative garden festival

Kate Shortt in 2021

Volunteering in our Veg Patch summer 2022