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Open Garden Squares Weekend: what's on?

The capital's most secret and most stunning gardens open their gates for one weekend only

Discover the secret, the abundant and the most fertile corners of the city for one weekend this summer (Saturday June 18 - Sunday June 19 2016) as proud gardeners throw open the doors to cherished raised beds on rooftops and enchanting wildflower woodlands, all part of one the loveliest London events in June: Open Garden Squares Weekend. Check out some of our favourite green spaces on the bill this year and go get snooping. 

Gardens open on Saturday

All Saints Vicarage Garden

This garden was a part of Fulham Palace's grounds until 1935, when it was given to the church for a new vicarage. It is home to some beautiful mature trees including a magnolia, dark-leafed maple and a Cotinus (also known as Smoketree), and the house is covered in wisteria.

Diane Mulholland is the garden's poet in residence for Open Garden Squares 2016

Open Saturday 11am-4pm and Sunday 2-5pm 

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The Golden Baggers

This community food-growing space was set up by residents of the Golden Lane Estate, and they now produce fruit, vegetables, salad crops and flowers in 40 one-tonne bags on the site of the former nursery playground. There's also a communal herb garden, grapevine and a small wildlife garden.

Open Saturday, 10.30am-4.30pm

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Old Street

Providence Row Rooftop Garden

Tucked away on the rooftop of this homelessness charity HQ is a secret allotment growing organic fruit and veg with a 'forest garden' of vertical beds. Much of the food produced goes straight into meals for rough sleepers that use the centre.

Open Saturday 12-4pm

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The Mosaic Rooms

A non-profit art gallery and bookshop which supports and promotes contemporary culture from the Arab world. Their sustainable guerilla garden was built around permaculture principles. It is now one year old and has been left to establish itself. 

Artist Corinne Silva will be discussing her new book Garden State with Middle Eastern plant expert Sabina Knees at a free public event from 2pm on Saturday June 18. Book here

Open Saturday and Sunday, 11am-6pm

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Earls Court

Galleywall Nature Reserve

You can't miss the entrance to this nature reserve - a bold steel gate designed by schoolchildren and local blacksmiths. The small plot has been maintained by a team of volunteers since 2004. The planting focuses on native trees and shrubs and includes a wildlife pond, boggy pond, beehive and growing plots for local residents.

Open Saturday 10am-4pm

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King Henry’s Walk Garden

A previously derelict site, this organic and sustainable garden is now a thriving green space with plots, small woodland, beehive, pond and a neat custom made watering system that collects rainwater and distributes across the garden.

A traditional summer fete will take place on Saturday with music, games, stalls, home baked treats and a plant sale.

Open Saturday and Sunday 12pm-4pm

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Phoenix Farm and Learning Zone

This one-acre farm is part of Phoenix School, providing a learning resource for the students and members of the local community. It comprises of glasshouses, polytunnels and beds full of fruit, vegetables and medicinal herbs. Wildlife living in the garden includes rabbits, bees and chickens. 

Open Saturday 10am-4pm

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White City

Ham Yard Hotel Roof Garden

This leafy rooftop garden opened in 2015 on the fourth floor of the Ham Yard Hotel so this is the perfect chance to see just how well the wild meadow flowers, vegetables and herbs have settled into their raised beds. Recline in the lounge area, admire the two ancient olive trees that overlook the garden and enjoy views of the London skyline.

Open Saturday, 10am-3pm and Sunday 10am-5pm 

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St Olave's Church

This medieval church is dedicated to the patron saint of Norway, and is the resting place of seventeenth-century diarist Samuel Pepys. The garden was recently replanted to honour 16th century botanist William Turner, who is buried in the churchyard. 

Open Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-5pm 

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Winchmore Hill Friends Meeting House and Burial Ground

The burial ground at this Quaker meeting house has the feel of a semi-wild garden. It features a wide variety of trees, including a large Atlantic cedar that's over 170 years old. Plus you might spot 'George' the resident fox, named after the founder fo the Quaker movement.

John Canfield is the garden's poet in residence for Open Garden Squares 2016.

Open Saturday, 11am-5pm

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Winchmore Hill

Gardens open on Sunday

Arvon Road Allotment Group

These allotments were created in the 1970s, with 31 plots terraced along the freight railway line which runs from Finsbury Park to Liverpool Street. Because of the angle, some of the allotments can only be accessed by ladder. The land also features a small mixed woodland and a freshly renewed pond.

Open Sunday, 11am-5pm

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Barbican Station Pop-up Garden

The tube gains a community garden on a 100-metre-long disused platform in Barbican station. Planters of varying heights form a wave pattern to represent the acceleration and braking of trains, and hold trees, climber sand shrubs to provide height. Colourful plants and vegetables should provide enough pollen and nectar to tempt some bugs into this most unnatural of green spaces. 

Pre-booked tours 11am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday

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Beech Gardens - The Barbican Estate

The Grade II listed Barbican Estate is gaining some extra green bits, and as part of that a raised podium area which came about thanks to waterproofing works is being turned into Beech Gardens. The planting includes some 22,000 herbaceous plants which provide colour throughout the flowering season and 14 new multi-stemmed trees.

Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm

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Cadogan Place North Garden

This section of Cadogan Place's gardens was created and landscaped by Humphry Repton in 1806, but following a War Office takeover in 1942 it needed some work. It gained an underground car park in 1970, so the re-landscaped garden is a sort of roof garden. Its shallow soil means that you'll find more unusual plants such as a Brazilian pepper tree and a chinaberry tree, as well as plenty of lavender.

Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm

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Eversheds Vegetable Garden

This award-winning roof garden is home to a wide variety of edible and ornamental plants with beehives in the wildflower garden. Gardeners and beekeepers will be available over the weekend to answer any questions.

Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm

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Forty Hall Farm

This organic farm is run by an environmental college, and aims to demonstrate and promote sustainable food production. As well as educational courses and visits the farm holds regular family-friendly events. The organic vineyard is community-run, as is the orchard and market garden. 

Open Saturday and Sunday, 11am-4pm

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Forty Hill

Museum of the Order of St John

Following a £3.7 million refurbishment in 2010, the museum's Cloister Garden was re-landscaped and stocked with medicinals plants and herbs to reflect the Order's past providing medical care to injured and sick medieval pilgrims.

Open Sunday, 10am-5pm

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Wesley Square

This modern square was built as a green space for the 50 buildings which surround it in 1979, and regularly wins local awards. Local residents will be on hand to bring the garden's history to life.

Open Sunday, 10am-5pm

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Ladbroke Grove

West London Bowling Club

Founded in 1903, this bowling club's award-winning gardens were once patronised by royalty but went through many years of neglect. They were revived in 2014 with help from locals and from the nearby St Quintin Community Garden who have planted new roses and fruit trees to replace those that were lost amongst brambles and weeds.

Open Sunday, 10am-5pm

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North Kensington

Woodcroft Wildspace

This three-and-a-half acre educational wildspace features an orchard, some wetland, boggy areas and scrubland to help tempt in lots of wildlife and indigenous plant species. There's also an on-site apiary and open-air classroom facilities. 

Open Saturday and Sunday, 9am-5pm

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Winchmore Hill

Explore more of London's secret gardens

Hidden gardens and green spaces in London

Keep clear of the crowds and away from car horns with our pick of gardens that you won't find growing in the guidebooks. Whether you've exhausted all of London's major parks, are in need of a new pocket of tranquillity, or just looking to experience another side of outdoor London, let us lead you up the garden path for a peek at London's hidden green bits.

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By: Things To Do Editors



You can also buy discounted advanced tickets for the Open Garden Squares Weekend at the City Information Centre located south of St Paul's cathedral. And National Trust cardholders can buy them at half price.


Over 200 gardens across 27 London boroughs, all for a recession-beating £10 for the whole weekend?? What's not to love! A great annual event . . . Gardens in skips, on barges, rooftops, at restaurants, historic buildings, artists studios and galleries, as well as community gardens, traditional squares - and lots more. Count me in . . .