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The Voice - November 2020

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

As will be seen from the article below, The East London Garden Society used The Freedom of Information Act to obtain information from each London borough to understand the importance that local authorities place on trees. As you will see, few boroughs comply with the legislation.

The majority of London authorities appear to have a “couldn't care less” attitude about their tree canopy, despite the Climate Emergency. For example, the London Borough of Lewisham replied saying they do not have a register for ancient and veteran trees and said we should raise another Freedom of Information Act question!

The London Borough of Enfield stated, they do not have the time to produce such information and should we wish to go further they would apply a charge.

If you wish to see how your Council replied, see Protected Tree List for London.

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.

Protected Trees

Protected trees

Under, The Freedom of Information Act, The East London Garden Society asked the following questions to all London boroughs:

  1. What are the numbers of protected trees in your borough?
  2. What are the species of the protected trees in your borough?
  3. What are the locations of the protected trees in your borough?

The answers received were varied and some have not provided all the information requested. All London boroughs and local authorities are required to comply with The Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012.

Four London Boroughs failed to respond within the stipulated time frame and Tower Hamlets replied well beyond the required date. The legislation states there should be a readily available listing of protected trees free of charge. However, the London Borough of Enfield had no list but wished to charge a levy to obtain the requested information.

Under the legislation, boroughs are required to state the species of trees within their borough and their location. For clusters of trees or woodlands, they are required to specify the groups or woodlands to which they relate. Most boroughs failed to do so or were not interested in listing trees.

See Protected Tree List for London for the results of this survey. If this same lack of interest and compliance with the legislation is replicated across the country, it is not surprising that we are in the depths of climate emergency.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign the Stop the Felling of Status Trees petition to pressure those in power to do something about this appalling situation. If you are one of the 1,130 plus people who have already signed, Thank You.

Perhaps all those in power who claim to represent us, should listen to the story of The Lorax which shows what happens if we don’t respect our trees.

Growing Lavender from Seed


Lavender is a beautiful, fragrant herb that produces purple, white, and/or yellow flowers, depending on the specific variety. Most gardeners usually propagate lavender from cuttings. However, the plant can also be grown from seed.

Growing lavender from seed is not always successful and can be a slow process. But it is often less costly than buying cuttings or pre-started plants eventually producing plants that are just as vibrant. When choosing lavender seeds, keep in mind that some plants won't produce seeds that are true to the plant.

Here are some tips:

History of the Parsnip


During the times of knights and minnesingers, the parsnip was a most popular vegetable. One intriguing medieval recipe calls for sautéing and baking parsnips with almonds, chestnuts, raisins, nutmeg, and expensive spices.

Their distinct flavour goes very well with roast venison, mutton, or beef. But parsnips were just as popular in the humble kitchens of the simple folk as they were in the cuisine of the aristocracy.

Before potatoes replaced them, parsnips were an important filling and nourishing ingredient to stews and soups, as the root contains a lot of sugar, starch, and fatty oils. It was often used to strengthen the old, the weak, or the convalescent.

Even into the nineteenth century milk with parsnips was given to help those with consumption; those experiencing the continual depletion, emaciation, loss of strength, and appetite of the then-fatal disease tuberculosis.

Read More

The Loss of The Happy Man Tree

Happy Man Tree

Drawn on an ordnance survey map in 1870, the Happy Man Tree is over 150 years old. This beautiful London plane tree grows on the public pavement on the North End of Lordship Road on Woodberry Grove, London N4.

It has survived a century and a half of building development, two world wars, road widening schemes with the arrival of the motor car and, so far, Berkeley Homes. But now, in this latest intervention, this majestic and much-loved tree has been condemned to be cut down by Berkeley Homes & Hackney Council.

At the planning meeting on 9 September, Hackney Council re-affirmed their decision to go ahead with cutting down the Happy Man Tree and to approve the application for Woodberry Down Phase 3.

Read an account of the meeting and the difficulties faced trying to get objections heard and discussed. This Hackney Citizen article also includes interesting details.

The Happy Man Tree qualifies as an amenity tree and the council are contradicting their own new local plan which states that all amenity trees (with biological, aesthetic, and cultural value) must be retained. Mature trees can and should be protected alongside meeting a community’s housing and other needs.

The Friends of the Happy Man Tree includes many residents from across the Woodberry Down estate, Hackney, and the neighbouring boroughs, as well as tree and environmental experts. During the months they have been providing a protective presence at the tree, they have had conversations with, and support from, hundreds of people.

The Friends of the Happy Man Tree believe that mature trees can and should be protected alongside meeting a community’s housing and other needs.

England's Tree of the Year 2020: The Happy Man Tree

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Spicy Pumpkin Burger

Chef Danny at The Ferry House, Isle of Dogs, has created a deliciously spicy pumpkin beef burger that’s perfect for Halloween. (The following recipe is sufficient for three servings.)

Ingredients for Burger:

Ingredients for Sauce:

Pumpkin burger


The Ferry Wheel Cocktail

Lisa at the Ferry House has designed this creamy, coffee cocktail.



Place ingredients over ice in a large bowl glass and garnish with three coffee beans.

Finally ...

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