Placeholder Picture

The Voice - January 2021

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

We are entering a new year and we hope that 2021 will be better than the previous one. What we all have to decide is how we can improve our gardening skills, as well as protect what we have in the way of green urban space.

The East London Garden Society is at the forefront of bringing a greater awareness in the ways that we can protect our green space. To protect a part of the conservation area in Bethnal Green, local residents wish me to personally attend The High Court in London to fight their case. The only way to create a better environment for everyone, is to work together.

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.

Housing or the Environment

The development of The Limehouse Triangle affects the residents of Tower Hamlets. 

However, everyone should be made aware of this issue because just as the Amazon Rainforest is in danger, so is the urban environment of London.

The Limehouse Triangle may be nearing the end of the fight by residents to stop development, but it is indicative of the problems which face a choice between housing and trees, as reported at a Council meeting held in April 2019.

To build on nature reserves and conservation areas, and to allow planning in a community park, is wrong in the view of The East London Garden Society. Destroying what urban space we have left in east London is not a way to progress, because what is lost can never be regained.

We have to understand that unless we are prepared to oppose such planning applications which destroy what is left of our nature, there will soon be no nature. Tower Hamlets Council has just engaged contractors for the Limehouse Triangle development having ignored the wishes of the local residents.

Protecting Green Space

It has become ever more important that we look at our urban green space as never before. The East London Garden Society has embarked on a course of action with The London Borough of Tower Hamlets about having green urban space put forward for development.

Most prominent is The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree. Fortunately, residents were able to raise funds to take The London Borough of Tower Hamlets to court to object to the decision to fell eleven protected trees and twenty-seven mature trees, plus the uprooting of this 500-year-old Mulberry tree.

The Council has already reduced The Limehouse Triangle, which is a reserve for the ecology of the area and considered to be a site of scientific interest site, to wasteland for the reasons of development. The Council ignored all pleas from local residents and from national bodies, in order to secure their desire to have the site used for development.

Everyone who is interested in retaining urban green space should work as one to secure our urban green spaces for the future.

There are rules and laws governing urban green space, However, The London Borough of Tower Hamlets manipulate these to achieve their purpose. Not everyone is able to take the Council to court since it can be expensive. 

However, there is the ‘stage complaint’ system, which in some situations can be found effective. We should all look to maintain our urban green space and use whatever means we have to do so.

The Shoreditch Forest Garden

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has now approved the planning application for the Bishopsgate Goodsyard development. Within the design, the developers, Hammersons and Ballymore, have to provide a public park.

Following insistence by The East London Garden Society over a period of five years, we have persuaded the developers to provide a forest environment against their chosen design. As a result, we will now have on top of this redundant rail viaduct in central London, what is arguably the largest forest garden in any city in Europe.

A forest garden is the oldest known form of horticulture known to us. It is formed by growing a variety of plants, both edible and non-edible, to benefit the community as a whole. It is modelled on a natural woodland.

If you leave your garden alone and do nothing in it for a long time, it turns into a forest. A forest that is unlikely to provide you with the food you need. But if you work with nature by turning your garden into a food forest and copying the principles of a natural forest, you will have food in abundance. That is forest gardening.

Chilli Peppers

Capsicum fruits, also known as red pepper or chilli pepper, have been a part of human diets since about 7,500 BC and are one of the oldest cultivated crops in the Americas.

The origins of cultivating chilli peppers are traced to north eastern Mexico some 6,000 years ago. They were one of the first self-pollinating crops cultivated in Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America.

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio reviewed health records of more than 570,000 people from four large studies and found that compared to those who rarely or never ate chilli peppers, to those who ate them on a regular basis reduced their risk of death from heart-related sources by 26%, from cancer by 23% and from all causes of mortality by 25%.

Read More

Growing Indoor Plants

Placeholder Picture

Houseplants are not living indoors by choice. Ever since Victorian plant collectors brought home exotic tropical specimens, we’ve been coaxing warm-climate natives to thrive inside our homes.

The secret to keeping a houseplant alive is to replicate its natural growing zone by giving it the amount of humidity, light, and water it prefers. Most houseplants fall into two categories, tropical (including ferns, palms, vines) or succulent (such as varieties of aloe, aeonium, and echeveria).

Everyone can grow indoor plants and they can be as difficult or as easy as you wish, depending on the variety. The purpose of growing indoor plants is that they provide an added attraction to the beauty of the home and they have the ability to cleanse the air better than most chemical products.

For instance, the rosemary plant has the ability not only to assist in the fragrance of the home but also has a memory retentive purpose, which has been known for many years. One of the most fragrant plants grown indoors would be the Lavender which has a way of deflecting most insects within the room.

We should all look at ways to protect ourselves using well founded knowledge. Indoor plant growing is one of those ways.

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Chilli Bean Soup


Blackberry malt cocktail


Heat the oil in a deep saucepan and fry the chopped onion over a medium heat until tender.

Add the garlic and tomato purée, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until combined. Sprinkle in the spices and cook for another 1 minute.

Tip in the chopped tomatoes, half fill the can with water, and add to the pan. Pour in the stock and simmer on a medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered.

Season, then blend using a hand blender until smooth. Add the beans and red pepper and cook for another 15 minutes until the pepper is tender.

Serve in bowls topped with a small pile of tortilla chips and a lime wedge.

Finally ...

Previous issues of The VoiceBack to Top