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The Voice - October 2021

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

As we enter the year end it’s time to reflect on what we have done and what we still have to do. The East London Garden Society is now eleven years old, so any review should be undertaken by those who know about us or have profited from us being in operation.

We always like to receive comments about the challenges and campaigns we have been involved in, so feel free to let us have your views by emailing

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.

Urban Green Spaces

Our parks and gardens are constantly being challenged and the loss of amenities providing green space will in the end be a loss to all of us. In Tower Hamlets part of Shandy Park has been given over to a private religious building, encroaching on valuable green space.

Although we have The Green Belt in outer London, it will constantly be a challenge with climate change to try and reverse its effect. A way of assisting the environment is to ensure we protect our existing green spaces as much as possible.

Westminster Council has voted down a proposal to build a national Holocaust memorial next to Parliament because it could harm the historic area but the Government still has the final say.

The planning committee voted unanimously to reject allowing the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre to be built in Victoria Tower Gardens, saying it contravenes planning rules on size, design and location.

The design of the memorial has previously been compared to a 'split-apart ribcage' and a 'silly hill' that would take up too much of one of Westminster's few green spaces.

Objections to the proposal came from a range of groups including Historic England, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and Royal Parks.


Cultivated for over 5,000 years, rosemary plant history is understandably steeped in legend, myth and folklore. Rosemary herbal uses run the gamut of medicinal remedies, culinary delights or even as a love charm. It’s really no wonder why its stimulating aroma and flavour has continued to enchant people for centuries.

History of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has been used medicinally dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans in 500 B.C. Dried sprigs of rosemary even showed up in Egyptian tombs from 3,000 B.C.

Rosemary was cultivated by the Spanish in the 13th century where it became a popular condiment for salted meats from the 15th to 18th centuries. The genus name, Rosmarinus, is derived from the Latin for ‘dew’ (ros) and ‘belonging to the sea’ (marinus) in reference to the warm Mediterranean region of its origin.

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Climate Change Conference

The next Climate Change conference (COP 26) takes place in Glasgow in November 2021. Sadly we have not heeded this topic since Dr Suess wrote his book ‘The Lorax’.

Along with others, The East London Garden Society hopes that this will be the last Climate Change conference before the point of no return is upon us. We congratulate those who have fought to retain the remaining gardens and parks in east London and suggest we celebrate this success with a walk through them.

It’s important that our urban environment be cherished and protected as a way to maintain and improve our environment. Inevitably some of our parks and gardens will be used for development but we must all ensure that our local authorities are mindful of the need to retain open spaces and ways to conserve our environment. This also applies to national governments.

It’s up to us to protect the most precious things in our urban landscape.


Some say that Autumn is the best of all the seasons. It’s when we have picked our garden produce and the last from the flowering beds, but like Spring, Autumn is about a renewal of the garden with the leaves falling after a colourful display.

Autumn is our opportunity to get rid of dead vegetation left over from the summer, tidy the borders, clear out the gutters, and more. This season is all about picking up and packing down before the arrival of winter.

To ensure a vibrant display next spring, dig up annuals and plant your beds with pansies, bellis daisies and wallflowers. Cut back faded perennials to 5 cm above ground level, but don't be too tidy, attractive seed heads are great for insects, look wonderful when covered in autumn dew, and provide handsome winter silhouettes.

Once your borders are clean and tidy, spread a thick layer of compost, bark chips or well-rotted manure. Don't worry about digging it in, let the worms do the hard work for you.

Do lift tender species like begonias, dahlias, and cannas before the first frosts threaten. Cut back the stems and gently lift the tubers/rhizomes from the ground. Clean the soil from them and store in trays of dry compost or sand with just the top of the crown visible.

Put the trays in a cool, frost-free place over the winter ready for replanting when spring arrives and all risk of frost has passed. In very mild areas it may be possible to protect tender species without lifting them and instead cover the crowns with a thick blanket of mulch.

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Rosemary and Potato Tart with a Rye Crust

Rosemary is an evergreen shrub and is great for using all year round. It goes particularly well with a little bit of dark rye. Serve this as a hot or cold starter, with creme fraiche and a green salad. 



Serves 4 to 6 people.

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