Open Garden Squares Weekend 2017 is nearly upon us! The event was founded in 1998, with 40 private gardens being opened to the public. Since then the event has gone from strength to strength and now has around 200 participating gardens both public and private. Volunteers provide a friendly welcome to visitors with many of the open gardens offering refreshments and entertainment.
This event is an excellent way to get a peek at gardens in the city that you otherwise might not have access to or know about. Your ticket gives you access to all gardens accept those that need to be pre-booked or where tickets are assigned by ballot.
If you are not sure where to visit, then take a look at our favourites below.
Open Garden Squares Weekend – East London
Cable Street Community Gardens – E1
Cable Street Community Gardens is an inner city garden situated between Limehouse and Shadwell. Boasting over 50 plots of raised planters growing organic flowers and vegetables, fruit trees, ponds and wildlife areas which are tended to by the garden’s members.
Cable Street Community Gardens are managed without using pesticides or other chemicals, creating a sanctuary for a wide range of wildlife and the bees they keep.
For the Open Garden Squares Weekend, visitors will be treated to homemade refreshments, garden tours, stalls, workshops and a Gypsy Orchestra.
Crossrail Place Roof Garden – E14
A hidden gem amongst the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, Crossrail Place Roof Garden is an exotic oasis with tall grasses, flowers, and ferns beautifully designed to make the most out of the architecture. Sitting almost on top of the meridian line, the garden has been laid out so that the plants are within the hemisphere they originate from.
As well as the beautiful plants, Crossrail Place Roof Garden also boasts a performance area where you can enjoy a varied selection of entertainment throughout the summer.
Open both Saturday and Sunday, Crossrail Place Roof Garden has a whole host of free events including music, talks, and activities for the kids.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – E20
Initially created to host the London Olympic Games in 2012, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been re-landscaped and opened again to the public in 2014. With beautiful gardens, state-of-the-art sporting facilities for the public to enjoy and a whole range of new London developments being built around it this park is soon to be the centre of an exciting London community.
Although this park is open all year round, for Open Garden Squares you can join a guided tour of the park and learn about how it is changing and plans for the garden’s future.
Open Garden Squares Weekend – South London
Ballast Quay Garden – SE10
Located next to the Thames, Ballast Quay Garden is a tranquil area that was turned into its current incarnation in the 1960’s by Hilary Peter’s. The area was originally the Union Wharf industrial site, unused and full of rubbish it was taken over and turned into a garden for neighbours and visitors.
There is little left of its industrial past today, as well as the lush gardens there are also sculptures by Brian Greaves, Blacksmith, and Kevin Herlihy.
Open Garden Squares weekend brings a local interest exhibition, displays and refreshments may be available.
Bee Urban – SE11
Bee Urban is an educational community project located in Kennington Park. With raised growing beds, bee hives, herbs, flowers and fruit trees. There is so much to see and do at this wonderful garden, see the bees tending their hives, apiary, and cob-oven.
Bee Urban takes part in outreach work for South London, beekeeping sessions and beer tastings with the buildings also being available to use for meetings and gatherings.
This weekend is your chance to learn all about beekeeping try their honey beers and take part is crafts and candle making.
Thrive Battersea – SW11
Thrive Battersea, is run by a charity providing gardening based therapy to disabled, isolated or vulnerable people. Thrive is made up of three gardens, which are looked after by the people the charity aims to help.
Using gardening as therapy is a great way for people to have the opportunity to socialise with others, learn new skills and make new friends. It provides a safe and relaxed environment for people who may either not usually have these opportunities or who struggle with more social situations.