News / Blogs Post New Entry

Sowing wildflower Meadows

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on November 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Photo - Lewisham Gardens

I've had a few enquiries last week about sowing meadows- and another this afternoon.

Many people have been moved to mark the centenary of the start of the Great War next year by sowing small patches of red field poppies or flanders poppies. It's a quiet, dignified memorial which will appropriately and meaningfully commemorate the fragility of human life.

For instructions of how to make a wildflower meadow (and a list of seed suppliers.)

Telegraph Hill: Common Growth Garden Workshop

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on May 9, 2013 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Now Spring’s finally here, things have been moving apace in the Common Growth Community Garden in New Cross. The greenhouse is full of seedlings and a row of various fruit trees and bushes is now proudly lined up against the back wall. Both are thanks to the last 2 workshops where people learned and shared tips about growing. The next workshops is next Saturday the 11th of May from 10.30-12.30, and it will be on Weeds and their uses:

~ Weed identification

~ Useful weeds

~ Organic weed control methods

~ Practical activity: weeding of raised beds; making Comfrey ‘tea’ (plant fertilizer)

As usual it will be an informal workshop with plenty of participation, and time for conversation over tea and cakes.


Amazing and helpful bugs:  Wednesday the 29th of May. A fun workshop for children of all ages!

This workshop is on Wednesday during the school holidays, from 10.30-12.00, and will involve fun learning activities, games and singing.


If you would like to attend any of the courses, or like more information, then please text Rich on 07901 360321 or email [email protected] giving the name of attendees and a contact telephone number. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. All courses are free, but we suggest a £3 voluntary donation to help cover the costs of materials.


Also, we’re open on Sunday afternoons from 2.00pm to 5.00pm, where you’ll often be rewarded for a spot of garden work with a bowl of fresh warm soup!


Common Growth Community Garden, Sandbourne Road (on the corner with Jerningham Rd), SE4 2NS.


Spring into Home Park community Garden

Posted by Nick on March 1, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Posted by Alan on April 28, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (5)

Why is the hosepipe ban  still in place? If I wash my dirty car tomorrow I could be ultimately fined! Thames Water wont relent- it's ridiculous.

How is your garden coping with the deluge? Im on thick clay and Ive given thanks numerous times for having added a buk bag of sharp sand and another of rotted manure last year. Otherwise Id be swimming in water- wearing flippers rather than wellies. 

My neighbour built a sunken patio a few years ago, and that's what it is now- sunken! The drainage couldnt cope and its under water! Their attempts to pump out te water proved fruitless, the clay means the ground is absolutley sodden. The water came back  within hours. 

The slugs obviously dont like it either; emerging hostas and seedings (under cloches) havent been touched- yet.


Posted by Nick on April 15, 2012 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (3)

Hearing about the cool clear nights and areas of low pressure heading towards us this week,  I thought we could put up any cold weather warnings until the dangers of  frost have passed by at the end of May. 

So  protect your plants tonight! 

Can you help us create an Apothecary Garden in Downham?

Posted by Goldsmiths Community Garden on April 7, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (9)

Goldsmiths Community Garden is delighted to be a member of Lewisham Gardens. As an individual, I've lived in Brockley for over 25 years and have been gardening for longer. As a community development and projects worker I am always looking to combine my interests with local needs!

Over two years ago when I first discovered the Community Garden as part of a feasibility study to update the community centre, it was called the Pensioners' Garden and overgrown with brambles, rose bushes with 2 inch thick stems and flowers 8 feet above your head. It's a lovely sunny area that has been landscaped in the past, and feels very secluded although the 124 bus passes only feet away.

Here is a link to Flickr[email protected]/sets/72157629766148795/

The Community Association had just received funding for a Wellbeing Service at the centre and it struck me that in providing low cost complementary therapies to the local community this could also be complemented by an Apothecary Garden for people to enjoy and learn at the same time. Combing traditional apothecary plants with herbs and some vegetables and fruit is my ideal. If anyone has suggestions as to how this can be achieved I would be very grateful.

I recently established a base at the centre to run a Community Media Resource, the room opens onto the garden and I've been able to tidy it up a bit and hack away at the roses, which really need to come out as they are well past their best now. Can you help, with advice and maybe a little volunteering? I have two books beside me on medicinal plants and herbs and an idea of how I would like it to look!

As a local group you are welcome to use the Community Media Resource Centre (we give priority to groups in Whitefoot and Downham, as we are funded by their local assemblies). Please visit the website for more information about this service, which is open on Mondays (except bank holidays) from 10.30 - 3.30 and on Tuesdays from 10 - 1 and can help your group with promotion, fundraising and resources.

I thank you in advance for your interest and Anne-Marie for putting me in touch!


@goldsmithshub on Twitter

@Goldsmiths Hub on Facebook

Gardeners threaten to defy hosepipe ban

Posted by Nick on April 4, 2012 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (2)

Its official now- no more hosepipes! Dont you dare flout the law! 


By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent - The Telegraph

Gardeners have threatened to flout the hosepipe ban after water companies admitted they were not employing any inspectors to “snoop” and do not expect to fine people.

<image removed>

Officially, more than 20 million households are covered by the hosepipe bans brought in by water companies in the South and East last night.

The bans are the strictest ever imposed and outlaw filling ponds and fountains as well as washing cars or watering the lawn. Also parks, allotments and recreation grounds are included for the first time.

Richard Benyon, the environment minister, admitted that the Government was not expecting people to be prosecuted. He said the ban was more about generating publicity over the need to save water after two dry winters in a row and lower river levels than 1976.

“It is more about informing people about the consequences of their behaviour,” he said. “There will be sanctions but we hope people will be sensible.”

Read more here.

Project Parakeet- local bird count in Hither Green

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on March 19, 2012 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (3)

As a Hither Green Resident and owner of mature fruit trees- I am very aware of the local ring-necked parakeet population! A survey of the local numbers is taking place next month! See below:

On the evening of Sunday 1st April, your help is requested with the latest simultaneous roost count of these colourful, if noisy, residents.

Hither Green Cemetery has become one of the biggest roosts in the country in recent years with 5825 birds being counted in January of this year.  If you fancy getting involved please get in touch with the project by clicking the logo.

More information:

Investigating the invasive ecology of the Rose-Ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) in the UK.

Our research project aims to assess the:

  • The size, distribution and predicted growth of the population.
  • The ecological impact on UK biodiversity.
  • The economic impact on UK agri-ecosystems.

Help Needed:

Count volunteers are needed for the next count, taking place on the evening of Sunday 1st April 2012: details

Send us your observations of nesting parakeets: details

Do you know the location of a parakeet roost (of over 500 birds)? If so let us know: details

See Volunteer Request Video: Imperial College

For those taking part in the garden bird feeding experiment please use the Online weekly observation form.

Sarah Raven March offers and Newsletter

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on March 14, 2012 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (1)

Here is Sarah Raven's March Newsletter.  Her stock is quality and really good value.  

While I almost always buy locally- Phoebe's and Shannon's - Sarah's nursery is one of the mail order places I use often. 


March Newsletter

With the arrival of spring there is lots to do in the garden in early march. Seed sowing really starts to get underway and you'll want to plant roses

and lift and divide perennial plants.

Tidy and Mend

Check your terracotta pots for frost damage. The hard winter may have damaged them, so check them over.

Sadly you can’t mend them, but you can break them down further and use them as crocks.

Shrubs and Trees

There’s nothing like the scent of shrub roses in the summer garden and even better when they are spectacular

climbers covering a fence or wall. Here’s how we recommend planting them:

Planting Roses

You can plant bare root roses in March but wait till there is no frost on the ground.

Or you can pot up your bare root roses into large pots to grow on and plant them into the garden almost any time –

as long as you keep them well watered.

* Soak the root in a bucket of water overnight.

* Dig a hole at least as deep and wide as a spade head.

* Fork the base of the hole over well to break up the soil and add a handful of all-round fertilizer (e.g. Blood, fish and bone or chicken manure pellets).

* Mound a small pile of soil - mixed with a little compost - in the centre of the hole to support the crown of the rose.

* Place the rose in the centre.

* Lay a bamboo cane across the top of the hole to make sure that the ‘union’ of the rose (ie the union between the root plant and the graft,

which looks like a knee) is slightly below soil level. If it isn’t, dig the hole more deeply. This is crucial. If the union is above soil level, you

promote the formation of suckers from the root material. These may then outgrow the grated rose on top.

* Fill in the hole with soil mixed with well rotted manure (or home-made compost).

* Firm down with your heel, mulch well and water.


Grow Your Own Flowers

March is the moment for sowing your undercover hardy annual seeds. If you have a greenhouse, windowsill or conservatory you can sow nearly everything in our hardy annual seed range. The bestselling and favourite Ammi majus is a must. It has wonderful lacy, white flowers, like a more delicate form of cow parsley. It’s the best white filler foliage you can grow and is spectacular arranged in a vase on its own.

You can sow some half-hardy annuals too, but wait until the middle of the month when the light levels are better and the nights are less cold.

Grow Your Own Veg and Salad


At last you can get going on your veg. It’s so exciting, especially if you love sowing seeds and messing about in the potting shed or greenhouse. Varieties to sow now include borlotti beans, broad beans (sow direct outside), Brussels sprouts, cabbages, courgettes, French beans, leeks, squashes and tomatoes.

Cover soil with plastic to dry it out, then direct sow carrots, parsnips and radishes.


If you want to get going with some salad, sow now undercover or in gutters in your greenhouse or conservatory, Corn Salad, Rainbow chard, Mizuna, Rocket, Winter Purslane and Mustard and plenty of Lettuces.


Direct sow Chervil, Chives, Coriander or sow Dill, Fennel and French Sorrel under cover.


Harvesting Flowers – Lovely things to pick and arrange from your garden in March

Bulbs: Narcissi, grape hyacinths, hyacinths, early tulips e.g. Purissima, plus freesias and anemones under cover

Hardy annuals: Euphorbia oblongata and by the end of the month, cerinthe and schizanthus (inside)

Biennials: honesty and wallflowers

Perennials: artichoke leaves, hellebores and polyanthus, plus alstroemerias (under cover).


Contact: Sarah Raven's Kitchen & Garden Limited

1 Woodstock Court, Blenheim Road, Marlborough, SN8 4AN

Telephone 0845 092 0283

What to do in the garden now

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on February 24, 2012 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (1)

 Flowers garden job checklist

27 - 4 March 2012

It's time to...

■ Prune out old stems of elder (Sambucus) to promote new growth from the base

■ Cut back last year's buddleia stems to ground level

■ Hard prune trees that respond to pollarding, such as willows, the foxglove tree (Paulownia) and Eucalyptus gunnii, to promote new growth

■ Lift and divide large clumps of hosta. Video content: How to divide hostas

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

■ Trim winter-flowering jasmine and tie in new shoots to supports

■ Sprinkle granular fertiliser around clumps of spring bulbs

■ Finish pruning roses as soon as possible

■ Cut down all previous year's growth on Clematis tangutica. New shoots will develop from the base, which will flower later in summer

Fruit and veg job checklist

 27 - 4 March 2012

 It's time to...

 ■ Plant onion sets in modular trays of compost, raising plants under cover to plant out later

 ■ Repair netting on fruit cages

■ Continue forcing sea kale and chicory

■ Sow seeds of the following crops outside or under cloches: carrots, beetroot, broad beans, salad onions, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, lettuce, rocket, coriander, mixed salad or stir fry leaves, radish, turnip, peas, lettuce and Swiss chard

■ Buy herbs to plant up in containers that you can position near the house

■ Plant out shallots

■ Sow a green manure crop, such as crimson clover, fenugreek or field lupins, which can be dug into the soil later in the season to improve it

Greenhouse job checklist

27 - 4 March 2012

It's time to...

■ Plant strawberry runners in hanging baskets, which you can grow in the greenhouse to produce an early summer crop

■ Order seedlings and bedding plants from mail-order suppliers

■ Sow dwarf French beans in a large pot for an early crop in June

■ Plant lily bulbs in pots either to use in the border or to add elegance to a patio display

■ Repot established agapanthus into slightly larger containers using a loam-based compost

■ Plant begonia and gloxinia tubers in pots

■ Take cuttings from dahlias planted last month to raise new plants

Around the garden job checklist

27 - 4 March 2012

It's time to...

■ Mow lawns then trim new edges with a half-moon edging tool

■ Dig compost into borders to improve water retention

■ Add copper rings to pots to protect plants from slugs and snails

■ Hoe bare areas of soil on dry days to remove weed seedlings

■ Replenish gravel and stone mulches on alpine gardens and scree beds

■ Buy summer-flowering bulbs to plant in spring, such as gladioli, tigridia, galtonia, eucomis, anemone, lily and acidanthera