The East London Garden Society

St Matthews Row Garden

Approximately ten years ago, The East London Garden Society began campaigning for the locked, derelict garden in St Matthews Row, Bethnal Green to be opened and maintained. Over the past two years, we were successful in getting the garden opened, but not maintained or put into good order. However, things have moved on, and the earth has moved, so ‘hooray’ for planting.

To look at the garden, which is only open during limited periods, there has been a revolution in the thinking by the Council. However, the planting regime looks awkward so we leave it to the user’s imagination to decide its purpose.

The garden is approximately 50 feet in length and 20 feet in width with previously designed planting areas. A 60ft high wall is at the rear of the garden, with railings on the three other sides. Homes are to the right and left of the garden, so it catches the midday sun. A rose garden has been created in front of the wall, in front of which are bush trees. To the right and left, as you head toward the exit, are lavender plants which are spaced 6 inches apart, with pampas grass, two bay trees and four yew trees.

We hope the garden succeeds, since we’ve been waiting a long time for this, but just how the roses will survive living in permanent shade, how big the bay trees will grow, how the lavender will exist once they begin to bush out, and how much the pampas will grow, remains to be seen, and that’s providing there is a sufficient supply of water.

It has taken ten years to get to this stage but at no time was the local community consulted!