The East London Garden Society

The Voice ‐ December 2018

Comment by Geoff

Merry Christma

A Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year

We have once more come full circle and together we have created more contacts in the gardening world. We also have the possibility of having the largest forest garden in Europe, as well as the prospect of a long held dream, The London Flower Show, where there will be the opportunity to raise funds for all gardeners in London, to show the diversity of London gardens and what they grow.

We look forward to welcoming another year.

The London Flower Show

London Flower Show

Once more we go proceed with the idea that London may have its own show to better inform everyone on what we grow and what we produce.

The prospect of involving all of London in their own show has always been an intriguing idea to show the best of what is grown in London and the best garden. The East London Garden Society is currently involved in talks with the owners of Wormwood Scrubs to make possible an annual event to tell London and a wider area, that London can indeed have gardens.

We are hoping to have the first event in September 2020 and would like to have all interested parties involved. See London Flower Show for full details. Back to top

Forest Garden

Forest Garden

We have written many times about providing an alternative viable park to that proposed by the developers of The Bishopsgate Goodsyard Development. It has always been the belief of the public that there should be as much forestry as can be borne by the venue, but this is not what the developers have envisaged. The idea is that the park should be named by the community, in which case they should have a forest garden, providing funds for its maintenance from the activities of the park, but this seems an anathema to many.

A forest would be perfect for the area. However, a forest garden would be taking the community spirit to a new height for London by having what is arguably the largest forest garden in Europe. We have been advised by local community groups to raise a petition to obtain the view of the people, and such a petition will shortly be debated in the council chamber of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

This matter is of great importance locally, but it is our intention to have another petition London wide to include those who live outside Tower Hamlets and Hackney. See Bishopsgate Goodsyard for full details. Back to top

My Moroccan Journey

Sidi Ifni Garden

Recently, on a journey through Morocco, it was more than welcoming to visit the local gardens, whether it was the famous Jardin du Majorelle, or the local authority operated parks and gardens.

The pleasure of seeing how they were maintained would leave many an East London council to hang their heads in shame. Each town travelled through, from Agadir to Sidi Ifni, gardeners were hoeing the weeds in the local parks and residents were watering their own public space. Irrigation in MoroccoBeing an arid country compared to the UK, Morocco had irrigation systems for a constant supply of water.

Somehow, despite all the knowledge our establishment possesses, we see what are supposed to be roses growing under broad leaf trees, barely showing visible stumps!

Maintaining the public realm for all to enjoy is important for those in other countries. Our ideas are unbelievable by comparison. Back to top


Mistletoe in Silver Birch

Mistletoe is botanically interesting because it is a partial parasite (a ‘hemiparasite’). As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches or trunk of a tree and sends out roots that penetrate the tree and take up nutrients. But mistletoe is also capable of growing on its own and like other plants it can produce its own food by photosynthesis.

Mistletoe is more commonly found growing as a parasitic plant and there are two types. It is commonly found on apple trees and sometimes on the oak. The rarer oak mistletoe was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans.

From the earliest times mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. It was considered to bestow life and fertility, provide a protection against poison and an aphrodisiac. The mistletoe of the sacred oak was especially sacred to the ancient Celtic Druids. On the sixth night of the moon white‐robed Druid priests would cut the oak mistletoe with a golden sickle. Two white bulls would be sacrificed amid prayers that the recipients of the mistletoe would prosper. Later, the ritual of cutting the mistletoe from the oak came to symbolize the emasculation of the old King by his successor.


Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. They probably originated from two beliefs. One was that it has the power to bestow fertility and in Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up.

In some parts of England, the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry. Back to top

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Turkey Schnitzel with Leeks and Butter Sage Sauce

Ingredients for Turkey Schnitzel:

  • 1lb of turkey cutlets
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup of (4oz) flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (8oz) of plain breadcrumbs, preferably homemade
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil or more as needed
Turkey Schnitzel

Method: Turkey Schnitzel: Soak the turkey cutlets in water for half‐an‐hour. Drain and place on a cooling rack over the sink; lightly sprinkle both sides with Kosher salt. Leave for fiteen minutes whilst making the butter sage sauce (see below). After fifteen minutes, rinse and pat dry with paper towel.

Butter Sage Sauce: Place the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Begin dipping the cutlets in the flour, then coat in egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Set on a large sheet of wax paper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick fry pan over medium high heat, then begin frying cutlets until thoroughly cooked, and golden brown on both sides. Place on paper towel lined plate and keep the turkey schnitzel warm until ready to serve with sauce.

Ingredients for Leeks with Butter Sage Sauce:

  • 1 large leek (about 6 oz) cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter and cut into one tablespoon pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • ⅓ cup (3 oz) of dry white wine
  • ½ cup (4 oz) of chicken broth (or ½ teaspoon of Better than Bouillion with ½ cup of water)
  • 3 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Butter Sage Sauce:Sauté leeks in one tablespoon of butter and the olive oil over a medium heat for a few minutes until soft. Increase the heat to medium high and add the wine. After about a minute, add the chicken broth and continue to cook to reduce by about half. Lower the burner to medium, add the cream and stir well. Begin adding one tablespoon of butter, one at a time, until each one has melted. After all the butter has been added, stir in the sage, and salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve: Spoon the leeks and sauce over the turkey schnitzel and serve hot. Back to top



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