The East London Garden Society

The Voice ‐ November 2018

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

This is the time of year when we all take stock of what we have grown in the past growing season and look forward to having exciting gardens in 2019.

It’s believed that we are constantly challenged by creating a better gardening environment from many sources, so it is up to us to put our ‘best foot forward’ and try to achieve our passion, as well as a beauty for others. The following video may give you some inspiration for gardening in East London.

Ban Toxic Weedkillers

The use of toxic weedkillers affects all of us. Please support the people of Hackney by signing this petition to ban the use of glyphosate weedkiller in Hackney. Back to top

Bishopsgate Forest Garden

Once more we ponder the best possible solution for the park on top of the arches within the Bishopsgate development. Pre‐consultation will soon take place prior to full consultation on the revised scheme.

Would you prefer a park with hard landscaping including shops and cafè?
Or, would you prefer a park such as a Forest Garden, which would benefit wildlife and provide a ‘green’ lung for the Bishopsgate area?

Surely it is better to have a park that the community prefers, not a scheme that the developers force upon us. What do you think? Let us know by emailing Back to top

As Winter Approaches

A Message from Mark Riddell‐Smith

As winter approaches, it’s a time of rapid change in the container garden. The summer crops like tomatoes and squash die in the frosts. And hardier, leafy crops like kale replace them.

I confess to feeling a bit wistful now that the days of fresh tomatoes, courgettes, beans and chillies are numbered. It will be seven or eight months before they come again. I have to remind myself that the seasonality of growing is what makes each crop so special and treasured.

As cold weather approaches, you’ll probably want to get your container garden ship‐shape for the winter. See my tips on what to do now, including what to sow and what to do with empty pots over winter.

The squash and courgettes are finished, the last of the tomatoes and runner beans still to come.


If you have a few empty spaces in your pots to fill, violas are a good one to look out for (often on sale in nurseries now). These amazing little plants can produce pretty, edible flowers all through the winter. They look so cheery in pots and the flowers are beautiful in salads. I always grow a few to add cheer to the dark, winter days. Back to top

Therapeutic Garden at Royal London Hospital

Therapeutic Garden Royal London Hospital

An unused space behind the Royal London Hospital has been transformed into a peaceful, green oasis and aims to deliver a relaxing, therapeutic space to promote positive mental health. The space at Stepney Way, Whitechapel E1 2JL was officially opened on 19 September 2018 to celebrate health and horticulture.

The project was recommended for the Royal London Hospital site by Tower Hamlets Council’s Whitechapel Vision delivery team, the public health team and Barts Health NHS Trust.

The garden project, undertaken by Core Landscapes, is designed to be movable making use of temporarily available land as and when it becomes available, so everything is container grown from Hornbeam trees to salad leaves. Community and corporate volunteers along with support from local authorities, developers and the private sector help the project overcome logistical challenges to move and relocate when a lease expires.

The garden welcomes volunteers on Tuesdays and horticultural workshops on Thursdays. It is open to the public on both those days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for gardening advice and plant sales. Volunteers and students learn about plant propagation, identification, food‐growing, design and maintenance.

Dr Ian Basnett, Public Health Director at Barts Health NHS Trust said “Health and horticulture have a shared history and it’s fantastic to see the wonderful space behind St Phillips church being put to such good use. As well as offering a peaceful space for staff and patients, the garden is involving volunteers from the local community who are positive about the therapeutic benefits of gardening.”

The training sessions produce lots of plants that go on sale at a very reasonable price to the public helping to cover some project costs like tools, seeds and compost. Local people also donate unwanted pots and tools, shrubs and plants that are then nursed back to health and propagated.

Nemone Mercer of Core Landscapes said “We don’t yet know how long we will be able to stay on this site, but we hope to find another nearby when we have to move. It’s a fantastic location and people love the space we have created together.” Back to top



In the 1st century AD, Pliny included what he called Cyma among his descriptions of cultivated plants in Natural History which said: “Of all the varieties of cabbage the most pleasant‐tasting is Cyma”.

Pliny’s descriptions refer to the flowering heads earlier cultivated variety of Brassica oleracea but comes close to describing modern cauliflower. It is found in the writings of Arab botanists in the 12th and 13th centuries when its origins were said to be from Cyprus.

François Pierre La Varenne employed chouxfleurs in Le cuisinier françois. They were introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century and are featured in Olivier de Serres’ Théâtre de l’agriculture (1600) as cauli‐fiori. They are still rare in France and they hold an honourable place in the garden because of their delicacy but did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV. It was introduced to India in 1822 from England by the British.

The word cauliflower derives from the Italian caoli fiori, meaning cabbage flower. The origin of the name is from the Latin words caulis (cabbage) and flower.

Cauliflower requires more care and attention than some other vegetables, but with some preplanning it’s an excellent cool weather crop. Attempts to grow cauliflower in temperatures above 80°F will usually fail. You can start your seeds in late summer if you plant them indoors in a cool spot. Provided your local temperature does not fall below 20°F, you can grow cauliflower over the winter and harvest in the spring.

Cauliflower is also fussy about soil quality. It requires high‐nutrient soil and must be well watered throughout the growing season. There are several different varieties to choose from depending on your local climate and desired maturity rate. Back to top

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower

A fun way to use cauliflower is to make the equivalent of mashed potatoes using delicious cauliflower. Although potatoes may offer health benefits, these tubers are high in starches that can lead to health risks if consumed excessively.

Cauliflower is a better option, as it doesn't just guarantee heaps of flavour, but also provides benefits for your body's overall wellbeing. This creamy and cheesy mashed cauliflower recipe can take the place of typical mashed potatoes.


  • 1 to 2 heads cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons raw butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw organic cream cheese
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder and other spices to taste
Cheesy Cauliflower

Note: When buying cauliflower, pick those that are firm with no brown or soft yellow spots on the surface. You can also check if the cauliflower is surrounded by green leaves, as these can be an indicator of freshness. Prior to using, place the heads upside down in a large bowl of cold salt water for about 15 minutes to remove insects and traces of pesticides.

Method: Steam the cauliflower until tender (about 5 to 7 minutes). Place steamed cauliflower in a large mixing bowl or food processor. Add butter, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Sprinkle with extra cheese, if desired. Back to top



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