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The Voice - February 2021

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

This edition of The Voice concentrates on our urban environment. If we are unable to protect what we have in our environment, it is disastrous for us all.

I hope that bringing these messages to you makes us all better informed. For example, there are numerous poisons readily available for our gardens and parks, but there are better solutions for garden management.

I therefore urge you to make a better choice.

If you value having someone campaign on your behalf to protect the environment and having access to useful articles about gardening and local environmental matters, please make a donation to help us with the cost of maintaining The East London Garden Society.


The campaigns we are working on in 2021 are significant for all gardeners, whether practical or philosophical.

The Great Eastern Parks Route is a way to produce a nature walk whilst utilising redundant rail viaducts from Hackney to Newham.

The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree - Tower Hamlets Council have awarded planning permission to Crest Nicholson which has resulted in the felling of eleven protected trees, twenty-seven mature trees, plus the planned uprooting of the iconic 500-year-old Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree.

Should the authorities succeed in developing this conservation area, it will forever be under stress whilst not knowing how many of the other trees (approximately 100) will survive.

Most notably we are involved with The Limehouse Triangle which was once a nature reserve. However, against all of Tower Hamlets’ policies the land has been reduced to waste by felling eighteen trees in order to develop the area for housing.

All of us need to be aware that when we lose our urban environment we all lose out and it cannot be regained. This is why we all need to continue our campaigning. 

The image shows the one remaining tree that Tower Hamlets Council forgot to fell at The Limehouse Triangle.

The Value of Trees

Hand Tree

Just as we humans are comprised of many parts which function together allowing us to do wondrous things, the anatomy of a tree is just as wondrous, empowering them with superhero qualities.

A tree has the ability to provide an essential of life for all living things on our planet; oxygen, and the power to remove harmful gases like carbon dioxide making the air we breathe healthier.

To keep it simple, a tree is comprised of its leaves, stems, trunk and its roots. When you look at a tree, note that about five percent of the tree is comprised of its leaves, fifteen percent its stems, sixty percent goes into its trunk and twenty percent is devoted to its roots.

Here is the superhero part. Through a process called photosynthesis, leaves pull in carbon dioxide and water and use the energy of the sun to convert this into chemical compounds such as sugars that feed the tree.

But as a by-product of that chemical reaction oxygen is produced and released by the tree. It is estimated that one large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people.

Trees also store carbon dioxide in their fibres helping to clean the air and reduce the negative effects that this CO2 could have had on our environment. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, in one year a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange.

So, the next time you take a deep breath of air give credit to a tree or hug a tree in thanks for what it gives us; the very air we breathe.

The Onion


A 2019 survey of 2,000 people in the US crowned corn the new favourite vegetable, with an approval rating of 91%. Onions followed not far behind with an approval rating of 87%, making it among the top five favourite vegetables.

Many experts believe that the first onions appeared in Central Asia. Most agree the vegetable has been cultivated for nearly 5,000 years and might be one of the first cultivated crops since they are easy to grow and transport, and have a long shelf life.

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Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Recently there has been a spate of political activity with the creation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

Planter rubbish bin

Most have been imposed upon the residents, but once completed the areas will become greener with plants, bringing extra life to the neighbourhood.

The East London Garden Society is not concerned with the rights or wrongs of the political message but we hold the view that if you are going to do something which improves the environment by means of planting, the advice of experts should be sought.

Silver Birch in planter

In urban areas, we are all aware of the poor state of our air quality which is desperately in need of attention. Therefore, any improvement is welcome but these images show what happens when expert advice is not taken.

A Silver Birch should never be planted in a planter. One planter has been used by some people as a rubbish bin, the other shows poor landscaping. 

A local authority should have the wisdom and finance to create a better vision, so why not do it well.

Poor landscaping

Although this is Tower Hamlets, we are sure that it is not the only urban area which could use some expertise.

Bee Killing Pesticides

The government has given the green light for bee-killing pesticides to be used in the UK.

Bee cartoon

Sign this petition now to ban these deadly chemicals and save our bees.

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ French Onion Soup


Blackberry malt cocktail


Finally ...

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