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“In an English Country Garden…” – Open Garden Squares Weekend

Over 200 hidden and little known gardens and sheltered spaces across London are involved in this year’s Open Garden Squares Weekend on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June.

The gardens are located across 27 London boroughs, including Greenwich, and range from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental, and include private gardens, roof gardens, community allotments, gardens belonging to historic buildings, institutions, cafes, schools and shops.

As well as a good range of cycle and walking tours covering a myriad of themes and topics to reveal even more unknown aspects of London, many gardens also host family-friendly activities, plant sales and pop-up events.

Established in 1998, Open Garden Squares Weekend takes place annually and is the London Parks & Gardens Trust’s highest profile event, underpinned by the Trust’s aim of increasing knowledge and the appreciation of London’s green, open space network. The Weekend is again presented in association with The National Trust.

Ballast Quay Garden - SE10 9PD (Open Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 June from 10am - 5pm)

This riverside garden is run by and for the neighbourhood of Ballast Quay. Transformed into a garden in the 1960s, the site was previously a wharf which was used for import and export from the 1920s to the 1908s, though activity declined after World War II.

The pleasant garden has a number of trees, grass, beds planted with flowers and shrubs, as well as vegetables. In the garden is a memorial sculpture dedicated to animals killed due to the foot-and-mouth crisis.

For this Weekend, the garden has on display sculptures by blacksmith Brian Greaves, who creates artworks on-board his tug boat Bronte, and Kevin Herlihy, a sculptor who uses found and recycled mediums. Kevin’s work can often be found near waterways and he has a particular love of the River Thames where he sources many of the materials he uses.

There will also be a small exhibition of photographs of the local landscape by Greenwich-area photographers, a display by Men In Sheds, information available showing the garden’s links with Surrey Docks Farm, plus homemade teas. Everyone welcome. Dogs need to be kept on a lead.

Charlton Manor Primary School - SE7 7EF (Open Saturday 13 June 10am - 5pm / Sunday 14 June 10am - 3pm)

Hidden away behind Charlton Manor Primary School dining restaurant you will find the school’s secret garden. A number of years ago it was derelict and overgrown though today it is a haven that includes raised beds, vegetable plots, fruit trees and vines, a large heated greenhouse, a wildlife area with pond, bird hide, chickens and an observation beehive. 
The garden is used all year round by children of all ages with a variety of gardening clubs at lunchtime and after school. Since the beginning of 2013 the school has been working closely with Woodlands Farm, Shooters Hill, to develop a vegetable plot, giving children the experience of a real working farm. Produce grown is used in the school’s state-of-the-art teaching kitchen and newly furnished dining restaurant. 

In 2012 Charlton Manor led a group of other schools in Greenwich on a learning journey into plant care, which resulted in growing cut flowers which earned a silver gilt medal at the Chelsea Flower Show and a meeting with Her Majesty the Queen. 
In 2013 and 2014 the project was again awarded silver gilt medals at Chelsea and gained further awards at Hampton Court Flower Show and Capel Manor. It has been invited to enter again in 2015.

For Open Garden Squares Weekend, tea, coffee and homemade honey cake made from the garden’s own honey are on offer, as well as a chance to see the observational beehives and be part of garden tours.

Weekend tickets: £10 in advance/£12 over the Weekend. Under 12s go free.

For more information about Open Garden Squares Weekend, visit: www.opensquares.org


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