The East London Garden Society

The Voice ‐ February 2018

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

When we feel the urban landscape is deteriorating, we really must take notice. Due mainly to neglect, some urban landscape has gone, so who do we blame?

The Bethnal Green Conservation area is under threat due to such a malaise. However, some people who care are willing to offer a means of protection by forming a Friends Group. This is just one way in which we all can be involved to protect what most of us would miss, if it were no longer here.



Snowdrops are very important as they hail the advent of Spring and become the most beautiful of flowers. Where they are in abundance, they make a welcome carpet of green and white.

The first reference to snowdrops in our gardens dates back to 1597 but it was Carl Linnaeus who in 1754 put them in the Amaryllidaceae family and named them Galanthus Nivalis, a typical Greek/Latin botanical hotchpotch meaning approximately 'milk flower of the snow'. Snowdrops were also anciently known as 'Candlemas Bells', reflecting their traditional flowering time around February.

Snowdrops don’t establish well if planted in the Autumn as dry bulbs. Instead, they should be transplanted in March, recently dug up with fading flowers and vigorous leaves. Back to top

Annual Food Growing Conference

Annual Food Growing Conference

This annual conference is taking place on 21 February 2018, 10:00 to 13:00 at West Greenwich Library, 146 Greenwich High Road, London, SE10 8NN.
To book go to Back to top

Bethnal Green Gardens

Bethnal Green Gardens

A recently held meeting with the assistance of The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green has established a group to challenge the perception of Tower Hamlets Council on how the area of great historical interest, including two listed gardens, should be better maintained.

The gardens were given to the people in 1667 during the reign of King Charles II and made into ornamental gardens during the early 1890’s for the betterment of the environment. Sadly, they’ve now fallen into disarray.

Arguably, the second oldest gardens in London, they’ve received very little interest from the local authority, so it’s felt that a more hands‐on approach should be made, especially now The Stairway to Heaven memorial has been unveiled.

It’s always important that gardens are maintained for the improvement of everyone. See Bethnal Green Gardens Area to read more. Back to top

Why are Bees So Important?

Bees are not the only pollinators. Ants, beetles and butterflies all have their own ways of creating a garden worthy of the name. However, bees are on their own when it comes to the influence they possess on our psyche, together with the product they produce ‐ honey.

Using honey may be a wise decision on your part, because it can help soothe sore throats, protect your body against the common cold and assist in relieving sinus infections. Honey may improve oral health by reducing oral pathogens found in plaque. It can also work wonders for the digestive system, as it can relieve bloating, mild digestive upsets, indigestion or gastric reflux, and may even help heal stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.

You can certainly take honey orally, but did you know it can also be used in:

  • Wound dressings to help treat minor wounds and burns by placing it on top of wounds or burns to speed up their healing. However, before applying honey to wounds, consult a physician or health professional first since medical‐grade honey that’s sterilised and prepared as a wound dressing must be used, and not typical honey.
  • Eye drops to assist with healing eye‐related conditions: Honey can provide benefits to the eyes, most likely because the plant itself has anti‐bacterial properties.
  • Face masks to improve skin: A honey mask can exfoliate the skin and keep it healthy. Honey may also act as a natural moisturizer that can improve skin.
  • Spot treatments to help scars fade and brighten up your complexion: The antioxidants present in honey can assist with eliminating skin blemishes.

Spring is on its way, so your garden is a part of the wonders of nature. Back to top

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Moroccan Vegetable Recipe

Consuming fresh, organically grown and GMO‐free vegetables is a cornerstone of optimal health and well‐being. Since vegetables can be prepared in various ways and flavoured with herbs and spices, there’s a high chance that you’ll find a veggie dish that you’ll truly love. As a main or as a side dish, this mouth‐watering Moroccan vegetable recipe combines fresh vegetables and flavourful spices. It’s a good starter recipe that you can serve to family and friends if you’re interested in trying Moroccan cuisine.

The following recipe provides four servings and the cooking time is fifteen minutes.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or good-quality animal fat
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pinch of saffron (about 15 threads)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¾ pound tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • ¾ pound sweet potato, cut into one‐inch pieces
  • 1/3 pound parsnip, cut into one‐inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into one‐inch pieces
  • ¼ pound dates, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ pound green olives, pitted
  • 4 cups chicken bone broth or water
  • ½ pound okra
  • ½ pound broccoli, broken into florets
  • ½ pound cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 courgettes, cut into one‐inch pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  • Coriander leaves, to serve
  • Coconut yogurt, to serve


Melt the oil or fat in a large saucepan or tagine over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for five minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 30 seconds, then stir in the dried spices and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the tomato paste cook for 30 minutes, then add the tomato, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, dates and olives and stir to combine. Pour in the broth or water, mix well and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the okra, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini to the pan.

Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper.

To finish, serve directly from the pan or tagine or transfer to a large serving bowl. Squeeze over the lemon wedges, sprinkle with the coriander leaves and serve with coconut yogurt. Back to top



Previous issues of The Voice