“What gardens and gardening events can I attend locally?” a member of the Society emailed recently. Luckily, Dulwich is a great area to live in if you’re interested in gardens, gardening and related topics, and here is a longer version of my reply.
Dulwich - and London - gardens to visit
The Society produces a “Dulwich Gardens open for Charity” brochure each year with details of local openings, this year with over 30 gardens included. The gardens range from the truly magnificent to the small and stunning, but all providing ideas and inspiration (and many providing fine teas as well).
More widely in London, there is an embarrassment of gardens to visit. Abigail Willis’s The London Garden Book A-Z (try Amazon for copies) is a good place to start for self-guiders, with www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk covering the UK as well as London. The London Parks & Garden Trust has maps for self-guided garden walks through great swathes of London (www.londongardenstrust.org). The National Trust has gardens at Fenton House (Hampstead), Ham House and Osterley Park. The London Open Squares weekend (www.opensquares.org) in June each year sees many private gardens open on that day only, and there are many National Garden Scheme (“Yellow book”) openings throughout the year as well.
Readily accessible to Dulwich is the lovely Chelsea Physic Garden; the Geffrye Museum garden at Hoxton (an easy trip Overground from Forest Hill etc); and a trip on the Dockland Light Railway to see the Crossrail Place Roof Garden at Canary Wharf and then on to see the Thames Barrier Garden (and the astonishing amount of building going on in East London) makes an interesting morning.
Guided garden walks
City of London guides have inexpensive, regular walks in the City as well as the Inns of Court, the Hill Gardens in Hampstead and other locations (www.citygardenwalks.com).
The Society’s Garden Group organizes an annual coach trip to important gardens such as Great Dixter and Nymans, and a more local visit or walk as well, open to all members. The praiseworthy Lambeth Horticultural Society (www.lambethhorticulturalsociety.org.uk) also organizes regular coach trips - membership costs just £7 a year.
The Lambeth Horticultural Society has monthly evening talks open to all as well as organizing a Spring and Summer flower show and having its own garden shop. The South London Botanical Institute (www.slbi.org.uk) in Tulse Hill organizes talks, workshops and events. The Society’s Garden Group organizes a yearly gardening talk, and U3A Dulwich has a garden group with monthly meetings (www.u3asites.org.uk).
Learning to garden
The Dulwich Vegetable Garden behind Rosebery Lodge (www.dulwichgoinggreener.org.uk) and Brockwell Community Greenhouses in Brockwell Park will help volunteers develop their gardening knowledge and skills. Walworth Garden Farm offers hands-on gardening courses (free to Southwark residents) as well as accredited training (www.walworthgarden.org.uk), as does Capel Manor Crystal Palace (www.capel.ac.uk). The Chelsea Physic Garden also offers courses.
We’re lucky to have the London Wildlife Trust’s Centre for Wildlife Gardening on our doorstep in Peckham, with its demonstration wildlife gardens, mini habitats and advice (www.wildlondon.org.uk).
Garden events listings
Jeremy Prescott Chair, Garden Group