Our next AHS meeting on 11th April 2023 will be a presentation by Sonya Patel Ellis on the subject of Container Gardening

Sonya Patel Ellis is a Forest Gate-based writer and editor, exploring the connections between plants and people. She is the author of Collins Botanical Bible (William Collins, 2018), The Heritage Herbal (The British Library, 2020), and The Modern Gardener (Harper Collins, 2022), has contributed to many other publications. Locally, she has worked with the Forest Gate Community Garden on various projects since its inception, including building the Dare to Dream House for outdoor learning sessions and delivering talks on herbs and John Fothergill, and is also the gardening teacher at Godwin Junior School. Having recently moved house, pots and containers of plants have become even more important as a way of bringing some of her old garden to her new backyard by way of bulbs, propagation, and division.

Tuesday 11th April 2023 at Aldersbrook Bowls Club, E12 5DJ 7:30pm free admission for AHS members, £5 non members

Planting on Rubble.

John Little

At our March meeting we were delighted to welcome John Little whose garden was featured in the March edition of the RHS magazine, The Garden. He introduced his talk by emphasising the importance of gardens and gardeners; talked about the undervaluing of gardeners, and the lack of revenue to maintain large gardening projects, often created with a substantial amount of capital funding. We saw examples of some brilliant community gardening projects developed for the community, contrasted with bleak public spaces with no greenery at all. John talked about the necessity to rethink our gardening and create new landscapes growing on unusual materials eg rubbish destined for landfill or left through fly tipping. We saw pictures of the Canvey Wick nature reserve managed by the RSPB and Buglife, a brownfield site which developed on poor quality soil and sand, gravel and chalk. It now supports more species of invertebrates – including 30 species on the UK’s red list – than any other Site of Special Scientific Interest in the country. John recommended that gardeners should work alongside entomologists to ensure that planting can support a wide range of invertebrates – which in turn encourages a greater population of wildlife in gardens. John explained how it is possible to grow plants on sand, rubble and other building materials. He showed us pictures of the beautiful planting in his own garden, using Gabions to hold waste material to form boundaries, green roofs on sheds and bike shelters and altering the topography of the garden by creating mounds on which to plant. Members were inspired to try planting in builders sand or creating mounds in their own gardens. In the words of one member – John’s talk was truly inspiring in his subject and delivery ……it did feel as if there was something each of us could do in our own gardens.

The AHS committee is organising a visit to John’s garden on the 1st June – details will be sent to all members and supporters in the next few weeks.

‘A Rubbish Garden’ is the theme of our Next Meeting on Tuesday 14th March 2023 7:30pm at Aldersbrook Bowls Club, E12 5DY

A presentation by John Little of his garden ‘Hilldrop’ in South Essex. His garden is most certainly not rubbish, but a supreme example of gardening on poor soils and substrates and demonstrates how this supports a variety of plants and wildlife.

Those of you who are RHS members will see John’s garden in your March copy of ‘The Garden’: a front cover illustration and feature, “Rising from the Rubble” – a more appropriate title than the one we’ve given our session!

“Gardens should be resilient, sustainable and available to all”. John Little ‘The Garden’ RHS March 23