Herb Tuesdays final feast of the year

Happy gardeners finished of a fabulous year of Herb Tuesdays with a winter feast and nutritional food workshop with Jill Newman.

Recipes will be uploaded soon.

We’ve had a fantastic year, and are looking forward to getting going again on tuesday february 2nd 2016. We’ve got funding for 2 whole years so really hope to build a brilliant project that everyone in the community can benefit from.

Thanks to EVERYONE who has participated and hope to see you all again next year!


Open meeting, all welcome!

Everyone welcome to come and join in an open space planning meeting to celebrate successes, overcome challenges, review what we’ve done and look to a sustainable future. This is a chance to bring your ideas, creativity and imagination to help us all build a great garden project for the people of Peckham and beyond. Please share with friends and colleagues, the more the merrier! Tea and cake will be served, and the whole event should be playful and fun. Everyone welcome, including the kids.

Saturday 14th November 1-4pm at the Wells Way Pop Up, Old Library, 39 Wells Way SE5 0PX

The Pop Up is not wheelchair accessible due to the stepped frontage. No dogs



more growing

So what is permablitz?

Whatever it is, or was, it was FUN!

These are the ethics behind permaculture design: Care of the earth. Care for people. Fair share. They are ethics that reach way beyond growing things.

A bunch of us came together early last Sunday (well, 10am) to help extend our low maintenance, productive and nature-friendly forest garden.

By three o-clock it was hard to believe the transformation.


Encouraged by mentors Susannah and Sue, we dug out and removed bindweed and brambles and cut down the grass, leaving it in place to provide a nitrogen layer for the “lasagne mulch” to come. (As with cooking: it’s good to know the science.)


We added a thick layer of rich rotted manure, then compost from the compost bins, then woodchip to retain water and deter weeds.

Once all the rotted manure was down, Sue explained how the mulch turns, slowly, slowly, into beautiful soil.


Shrubs and trees were planted, and GroChar charcoal was added, brilliant stuff, its porous nature encouraging fungi, enlarging root systems and increasing resistance to disease. Essentially, GroChar does everything organic matter does to the soil, but better, and permanently.

budding youth

Somehow we fitted in LUNCH!

Everyone brought something healthy and scrumptious and Budding Youth gathered salad, including nasturtium flowers.

washing up

Not a lot was left. Washing-up blitz followed.


And the kids came too – the youngest, Amani 🙂

Herb Tuesdays’ taster sessions

Our taster sessions have been fun. Along with herbal remedy workshops with Amanda Rew, we’ve enjoyed a plant dyeing workshop with Diane Sullock of Brockwell Greenhouses, and a swift introduction to permaculture with Kevin Mascarenhas of Natural Flow.

It’s been really enjoyable, and a great way to learn more about plants in the garden and how we can use them.

We still have a jam / chutney making workshop to come and more tbc.


Introducing the plants and their dyes.


Weld – green / woad -blue, & mix together to make lincoln green for merry men? Purple hollyhocks – deep blue /purple, onion skins -yellow, madder -deep pink, indigo – blue. We also had logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum – a tropical hardwood) that made a deep, deep purple


Madder (Rubia tinctorum)


Trial sticks ready to be cooked. Soaking in the mordant.


Weld (Reseda luteola)





Cotton bags dyed.


Was the permaculture session inspirational?  But yes, it was a bit wet.


Managed to find a large umbrella so we could stand around the compost bins.


Luckily a good lunch was had by all.

We have hens!

George makes sure a hen knows his legs are off-limits

George makes sure a hen knows his legs are off-limits

Considered to be redundant and past their prime, ten pretty hens were transported from their factory farm to our garden on 26th July. A few days later, bossy Sarah arrived, from a good home in Brixton.

In spite of their unhappy past, the rescue hens soon worked out what was food, what was drink and where was a good place to lay eggs. Sarah (banished from Brixton) tried to bully her way to the top, but… things can only get better: read on.

By the Wednesday, the hens were pulling up plants, making nests in the hay, laying eggs (yes!) and proving themselves to be a valuable addition to the garden: they love snails.

Enemy No. 1 is the fox who lives under the mounds, but a combination of a concrete floor and a metal-framed coop means that means he can only stare longingly at them. He stares, the chickens squawk. But they’re still laying, and, though many are missing feathers from their chest or tail, they look far shinier than they did.

Alastair’s daily visits have been paying off. Now they noisily gather round the feet of anyone who comes in (and try to hot-foot it out the door).

Last Sunday they had a ball: plenty of visitors to their coop. Our rescue hens are surprisingly open and friendly, pecking at bare legs and toes, not arguing when moved and – bar Sarah – allowing themselves be stroked. No longer is Sarah the sole one pecking at the rest: there’s another boss pot in the nest.

One of our younger volunteers, Zainab, discovered that at the top of the hens’ favourite things list are ripe blackberries and people’s shoes, while Bronwyn found out that a head of lettuce swinging at hen-height is the best game ever. But our 11 chickens are not here just to have fun: they are earning their keep. They’re laying six to eight eggs daily between them, and we’re selling the eggs to pay for their food: 20p a piece.

Fancy popping in to say hello, and donating the odd empty egg box? We’re here every Sunday 1-4!

Interested in joining the chicken group, to help manage and develop? Email Simon at simondthomas@yahoo.com

Photos and captions courtesy of Melissa

One hen poses for the camera while the other checks out Zainab's box for blackberries

One hen poses for the camera while the other checks out Zainab’s box for

A hen wonders whether leg hair is as delicious as it looks

A hen wonders whether leg hair is as delicious as it looks

Melissa holds a friendly hen

Melissa holds a friendly hen

Sarah's first day: she doesn't know whether Simon's legs or the open door are more tempting

Sarah’s first day: she doesn’t know whether Simon’s legs or
the open door are more tempting

Bees, Birds and Some Serious Cakes

IMG_1254 Well, we didn’t get to cover the birds but the bees blew us away – and the cakes were plentiful and delicious.

On Sunday the Glengall beekeepers helped us don suits while the brave put their hands in their pockets and their hoods up, and we watched and listened to the Story of Bees. Then Florence brewed tea, the rest ate cakes, and artist Sophie Herxheimer created her live stream of marvellous visual poems.

Here’s what we learned about BEES.

* The average worker bee produces half a teaspoon of honey in her (6-week) lifetime. Yes, they’re females.

* Bees are hard-wired to do certain jobs: Pollen Collector, Security Inspector, Builder, Larvae Feeder, Scout. Amazing.

* The drones’ sole function in life is to mate – with the queen.

* The queen is a reproduction machine. When her time is up, a year or so down the line, a small number of larvae are selected and fed on royal jelly. A few days later, they pupate, then fight it out, with shocking Killer Stings, to win the crown.

* Bees hibernate in winter and, left to their own devices, feed on the honey they’ve collected and sealed, while ‘factory-farmed’ bees are fobbed off with sugar substitutes. Which is one of the reasons that 21st-century bees are in serious decline.

Other reasons for the demise of bees include:

* The march of climate change; diminished habitat (when did you last see an old hollow tree?); farmed fields like rape being treated with pesticides; hybrid flowers being sterile, wild flowers diminishing, and, in the countryside, a lack of diversity. This is why urban bees, with their access to gardens, are, unexpectedly, flourishing.

Want to know more? Then join the natural beekeepers at Glengall Wharf Garden!


Photos (and honey cake): Claire Wright


Magical solstice night

We hosted our first magical midsummer night feast, a night of fantastic food, mead, music, merrymaking, flowers and fun.

It was a chance to get the garden looking more gorgeous than ever, spruced, swept, rinsed and readied for our biggest crowd yet.
The cosy centre space was warmed by the midsummer fire, and surrounded by flowers, the hum of quiet conversation, sweet violin and thumping double base echoed around as we munched on wild herbs, greens, slow cooked lamb and finished with the lightest of meringues and garden berries.

We were treated to a gentle, settled a swarm of bees, soon re-hived by our beekeepers, and as the light sank low, the fire roared and we retreated from the city around us.

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