The East London Garden Society

The Voice ‐ July 2018

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

We are now more aware of the use of plastics in our environment and the curse they are causing the world. However, we must also look at how we treat our land because we are losing living species at a rapid rate, and without these we shall be unable to survive.

The one thing we must attempt to do is redress the use of pesticides/herbicides that are sprayed onto our land. There is no need for them and in most cases, there are viable alternatives.

We must all take notice of best practice and follow it.

The Saving of Belmont Wharf

Belmont Wharf is:
A small community garden built for food growing, wild flowers and a habitat for wild life.
A seed station to share produce and plants with the local community.
A place of calm, in which all are invited to share.
A place where events such as art and pizza making in the outdoor clay oven take place.

Come and meet us and see if you would like to be involved in gardening, art events and workshops held here in the garden. It is open to the public every Wednesday from 2 p.m. during the growing season.

There are two ways of having communities involved; one is repression, having few amenities for the residents/workers, allowing more enforcement. The other, is investing in the communities, i.e. having amenities made available, whereby the whole community can assist one another.

All too frequently we as residents are blighted by libraries and police stations closing and urban green spaces made over for private development. One such case is Belmont Wharf, which will soon no longer exist.

Belmont Wharf, as the name suggests, is an old wharf no longer used for its primary use. It is now a wonderful natural community garden in which all may learn about nature and is located on the Regents Canal, off Lark Row, Bethnal Green. Within the area is a Community Centre and playground for children/teenagers to exercise and there are moorings along the canal, providing the only access to a natural world on the southern side of the canal.

Tower Hamlets Council is to mark this area for private development and visits have already taken place on behalf of the Council, to access the need for its private development. Although this is in the early stages, the community centre looks as though it is no longer used and the Community Garden (Canal Club Community Garden) has not been relicensed. People locally are afraid that this area will soon become high priced flats overlooking the canal.

Surely, it would be a shame to lose such a community area. After all, it was once envisaged that people could be involved in their community. The Saving of Belmont Wharf is not just an area for the wildlife, which will be lost, but local authorities should invest in communities, not destroy them. Back to top

The London Permaculture Festival

Sunday 29 July 2018 ‐ 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London NW1 7AY

Workshops, ‘how‐to’ sessions, films, market stalls and a ‘families at the festival’ zone. Enjoy discussions, networking and learning about creative solutions for a sustainable, healthy future.

Watch Permablitz London’s 65th permablitz on BBC2 Gardeners’ World on Friday 22 June at 8 p.m. Back to top

Parks Charter Launched

Our local green spaces are vital for everyone but there is growing alarm from the public, organisations and experts about the serious long‐term damage being caused by major cuts to green space budgets. Political leaders are therefore being asked to champion parks and local public green spaces across the UK to halt and reverse their decline.

A coalition of national organisations has therefore launched a ‘Charter for Parks’ which calls on political leaders to celebrate these spaces and take action to safeguard them. See her for The Chartler for Parks. Back to top

Make London the First Pesticide Free UK City

At the last count, forty‐one different toxic pesticides were being used in UK towns and cities. They are sprayed in parks, playgrounds and other green spaces, road verges, pavements and around shopping centres and schools.

The chemicals being used have been linked to an array of health problems including cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s. Vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and old people are most affected.

Pesticides are also having devastating effects on London’s natural environment. Due to habitat loss and the large quantities of pesticides used in UK agriculture, wildlife such as bees, birds and hedgehogs are increasingly seeking refuge in our towns and cities. However, the overuse of pesticides is destroying many of the areas where they can forage for food and contaminating the natural resources they depend upon.

But, the use of urban pesticides are unnecessary. There are lots of non‐chemical alternatives available and hundreds of towns and cities around the world have already banned pesticides.

The local council has the power to ban pesticides on all public land in your borough. A number of councils around the UK are already proving that it can be done, including London’s own Hammersmith & Fulham which went pesticide‐free in 2016. Back to top

The Wonders of Honeysuckle

The name honeysuckle comes from the tradition of children biting off the ends of the flowers to enjoy the drops of nectar inside. Honeysuckle refers to the genus Lonicera (family Caprifoliaceae), which includes about two hundred plant species. They grow as shrubs, bushes or crawling vines and can be either deciduous or evergreen, especially those growing in warmer regions. Native to temperate zones of both hemispheres, they are also found growing in southern Asia, the Himalayas and North Africa.

The flowers, which are yellow to bright red, are known for their lovely fragrance and sweet nectar. Being heat‐tolerant they make a lovely addition to any garden. The plants are known for their versatility, which makes growing and caring for them easy.

The plant itself, whether in vine or shrub form, is often grown for decorative purposes because it’s aesthetically pleasing, brightens up any landscape and attracts wildlife. The shrubs are often used to build hedges. The products made from raw honeysuckle, such as honeysuckle tea and honeysuckle oil, are known for their medicinal benefits.

Once dried, store the flowers in an opaque, airtight container and maintain them in a cool place. Be sure to keep them out of direct light to avoid damaging the chemical compounds and essential oils.

Due to its lovely blooms, honeysuckle is most often grown as an ornamental plant and often rambles along roadsides and fences. Despite its availability, there’s definitely more to honeysuckle than its alluring appearance.

Honeysuckles are shrubs or vines with opposite oval‐shaped leaves and signature sweet‐smelling tubular flowers. The flowers contain sweet nectar, but the fruit is poisonous. There are more than one hundred varieties of Lonicera, about a dozen of which are used medicinally.

The sturdy stems of honeysuckle have been used to make rope as far back as the Bronze Age, and in parts of Britain are still commonly made into bridles and harnesses for pack ponies.

Honeysuckle is associated by Culpeper with the planet Mercury and the sign Cancer. According to other sources it is also associated with the planet Venus and the element of Earth. Honeysuckle flowers have been used in spells designed to determine the true worth of a person or thing. They may also be burned in a censer or steeped in wine before straining and drinking.

It has been suggested that you should grow honeysuckle near your home to attract love, luck and wealth and to protect your garden from negative influences. The scent of honeysuckle is said to clear the mind, stimulate psychic powers, sharpen intuition, encourage psychic dreams, sweeten any mood and stimulate generosity. A flower rubbed on the forehead is said to increase psychic abilities! Back to top

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Ginger Tea

Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is one the oldest cultivated plants currently in existence. Historians believe that ginger has been grown for more 5,000 years, ever since ancient Indians and Chinese discovered and used it as a tonic root to help treat a variety of ailments. The plant was introduced to the Western world when it was exported from India to the Roman Empire.

Ginger tea bags are available at the grocery store, but it is better to make your own tea using ginger roots grown from your garden.

How to Make Ginger Tea
Once you have your own ginger plant, you can now proceed to making fresh ginger tea. It's quite easy to make, ensuring that it'll be a regular fixture in your diet for years to come. To begin making your tea, you'll only need around two inches of raw ginger, and one and a half or two cups of water of filtered water. Then, follow this procedure:

  • Peel the ginger root and slice it thinly to maximize the amount of the plant you can use.
  • Boil the slices in filtered water for 10 minutes. If you want a stronger and tangier flavour, boil for 20 minutes and add more ginger.
  • Turn off the heat, then let the tea simmer.
  • Add fresh lime juice and/or raw honey if you want to modify the flavour.

You may also like to create turmeric-ginger tea to give yourself a big boost in antioxidants.


  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)

To make the tea, simply mix all ingredients together and boil the water on a medium to low heat for ten minutes, then strain into a cup. Back to top



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