If you are into growing your own food or would ideas and to know more about this rising trend, then I recommend a visit to the Horniman Gardens in Forest Hill SE23.
The Horniman Museum & Gardens have been redeveloped over the last three years with funding from the Heritage & Big Lottery Funds, and the gardens have now just reopened. There are lots of impressive new features to see such as the very cool and contemporary pavilion with its green sedum roof and ground-source heat system, the renovated Dutch Barn and bandstand, a musical play area and a redesigned animal enclosure (with animals due to arrive in the autumn).
But what I found really fascinating and inspiring was the World Food Garden. This new area includes an enormous range of tender and hardy fruit, vegetables and herbs, all beautifully laid out in a large plot on a south facing slope. Whilst tending a plot this size is more than most would be able to manage, there’s lots of ideas to take from here, such as what you can grow outside in London, how to plan and lay out a kitchen garden and ways to train fruit trees and protect plants from pests. All the plants are clearly labelled so its easy to see what’s what. Most of the planting is quite new and young at the moment so I look forward to visiting again later in the summer to see the fruits of the gardening team’s labours.
The adjacent Italian Sunken Garden has been replanted as a Dye Garden, showing a wide range of plants that have been used as natural plant dyes through history, with plants grouped according to the colours they are used to make. There’s also a Materials Garden showing plants used for making musical instruments and a Medicinal Garden of natural plant remedies. I also really liked the new oak gates used to access these garden areas.
If you would like to visit the Horniman Gardens, which I recommend you do, more details are on the web site www.horniman.ac.uk.