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.
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.
Special thanks to the children who braved wind & rain to help Lynne dig channels, earth up the mounds & protect the beds from potato loving squirrels and baby foxes. In spite of terrible weather, we planted four beds – the ones that generally get dug up by foxes and so are not really any use for other crops.
Maria and Caroline, our gardeners, will welcome your help with April tasks, dead heading, watering the pots, weeding and mulching. And we need your help to prepare the way for our new habitat for insects and birds, our new bug hotel, wildlife log pile and hedgerow.
To make space for this new habitat we first need your help to dismantle the compost bays, and clear and bag rubbish. We need lots of help on our volunteering days this month, every Tuesday and on Saturday 16 April, any time between 10am and 4pm. Join us for an hour or two, or longer. Coffee and biscuits will be available.
Come along and join Caroline, our gardener, on Saturday 19 March, any time between 10am-4pm. Lots of volunteer tasks are available. We will be tidying the woodland, reducing unwanted saplings and cutting some of the ivy growing on trees.
Coffee and cake will be provided.
Remember to wear suitable footwear and if possible bring your own gloves.
Daffodils are everywhere! You can also find Anemone blanda (blue), Corsican hellebores, Camellia, and Leucojum (snowflakes). And you might even see a great spotted woodpecker!
Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who have been helping our gardeners Maria and Caroline. Volunteers have now tidied up after the stormy weather and are working in the woodland, reducing unwanted saplings and cutting some of the ivy growing on trees. We have planted a plum tree generously donated by a neighbour and we sowed wild flowers in the meadow.
More volunteers are welcome – every Tuesday and the third Saturday in the month. Coffee and cake provided!
The alternative garden festival
Kate Shortt in 2021