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The Voice - September 2023

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

The developer of the Bishopsgate Goods Yard is to once again consult with the local community regarding its design for the development of this area.

It took five years for The East London Garden Society to persuade the developers to create a forest garden on top of the listed arches. The idea being to help improve the poor air quality in that location and to provide a park for the public to enjoy.

If you care about your local environment, please confirm your preference for a forest garden by emailing  or telepohne the agency representing the developers on 020 7871 3565.

If achieved, it will be the largest forest garden in Europe on top of rail arches.

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.

The Walk

Forest Garden route

In October 2023, The East London Garden Society, along with other groups, are hoping to do a walk from Bishopsgate to the River Thames and the River Lea.

It will follow the soon to be created Shoreditch Forest Garden through to east London and provide a walk of nature, exploring both the history and the nature of east London.

It is important that we all create and protect as much of the green environment as possible, as well as learn about our environmental heritage.

Members of The East London Garden Society have been walking along the Great Eastern Parks Route for some time. The creation of the forest is for everyone to enjoy as a form of leisure.

Indoor Herb Gardens

Herb garden

Plants can be beneficial for us all in many ways. Therefore, why not have your own special herb gardens for your needs, whether for cleaning the toxins from the air, to provide important ingredients for your own recipes, or for deflecting unwanted insects in your own domain.

Using suitable containers to grow the herbs, place them in a sunny position or provide artificial light in order to produce the best results. We will soon be entering the Winter season, so now is the time to get started.

Herbs are a natural extractor for some cooking smells and a delight to see in the dismal days of winter. Many of you may have experience of growing indoors using the ubiquitous cress on a flannel at school.

Indoor herb plants are not forever. If you have done it right, your herbs will eventually outgrow their containers and need more space. If you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, or the plant starts to flop over, growth will probably have stalled so it's time to transplant.

The Echinacea


The first Echinacea species were discovered by European explorers in the forests of southeastern North America during the 18th century. The genus Echinacea was then formally described by Linnaeus in 1753, and this specimen as one of five species of Rudbeckia, Rudbeckia purpurea.

Conrad Moench subsequently reclassified it in 1794 as the separate but related genus, Echinacea, with the single species Echinacea purpurea. In 1836, De Candolle elevated this variety to a species in its own right, as Echinacea serotina, by which time four species of the genus Echinacea were recognised.

Echinacea was widely used by the North American Indigenous peoples as folk medicine, with archaeological evidence dating back to the 18th century. Traditional use included external application for insect bites, burns, wounds, chewing of roots for throat and tooth infections, and internal use for coughs, pain, snake bites, and stomach cramps.

By the start of the 20th century it was the most common herbal remedy in America. Commercial cultivation began in Germany in the late 1930s, and in Switzerland in 1950. However, despite many different preparations and hundreds of publications, no exact identification of a truly active ingredient has been identified.

American Eclectics, a group of doctors prominent from 1830 to 1930 who used botanicals in their practices, were a major force in bringing echinacea to the forefront of herbal medicine. They promoted it as a blood purifier for venereal disease, as well as an agent for treating migraines, rheumatism, tumours, malaria, and haemorrhoids. 

After their decline in the 1930s, the herb also fell into disfavour, but regained its stature when interest in herbal medicine revived in the 1970s and 1980s.

Other names given to the Echinacea include: Purple Coneflower, Black Sampson, Rudbeckia, Sampson Root, Hedgehog, Red Sunflower, Snakeroot, Kansas Snakeroot, Narrow-leaved Purple Coneflower, Scurvy Root, Indian Head, Comb Flower, Black Susans

Garden Community

Beef tomato

I am currently hoping that my beef tomatoes ripen in time this year, otherwise it will inevitably mean the American ‘fried green tomatoes’ or chutney. Depending on weather conditions, and luck, it is always a challenge to ensure I have another successful year with my vegetables.

This reminds me of a story which inspired me some years ago when I was seeking a better community through gardening. The East London Garden Society was contacted by a lady to find out how to improve her garden. She was originally from Bangladesh, and her mother was a keen gardener, who could not speak English. Her next door neighbour was Vietnamese, and also couldn’t speak English.

Both ladies were keen gardeners and had found unity in growing tomatoes. They are still friends and still enjoy gardening, which only needs one language.

There are many reasons for gardening, but bringing people together in such a way must certainly be one of the best ways to create a coming together of diverse cultures. Long may it remain.

Homemade Echinacea Tincture

Tinctures are very easy to make at home. All you need to do is fill a clean glass jar with plant matter and cover with alcohol. Vodka is always a top choice as it’s highly effective at extracting the medicinal properties from plants and is also odourless and flavourless, but brandy and gin are both good options too, or substitute vegetable glycerine.

How to Use Echinacea Tincture

Take half a teaspoon of homemade echinacea tincture every hour or so when you feel like you’re just starting to come down with a cold. You may increase the dosage to half a teaspoon every half hour if you feel like you need a little extra support.

Continue taking echinacea until you start to feel better, then decrease the dosage a little bit at a time until you’re feeling well.

If you’re suffering from a more chronic illness, you can take half a teaspoon of echinacea three times per day for up to two weeks at a time. Then take a break for at least one week in between.

Echinacea is an immune stimulant so it’s important to take breaks from using it so that it doesn’t overstimulate your immune system as this can lead to unwanted side effects and resistance to the effects of the medicine.

Consult a doctor if you’re unsure about your condition or have any side effects.

Finally ...

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