By Matthew Bradby (Chair, Tottenham Civic Society)
Think of Tottenham and you don’t immediately think of gardens. But in fact, Tottenham has a wealth of private gardens, providing refuges for urban wildlife and places for people to relax and unwind, especially now summer is here.
The National Garden Scheme is a national charity that opens private gardens to the public, raising around £3.5m every year. These gardens range from large private estates to small city plots. The money they raise goes to support nursing and caring work in the community, including cancer care and hospices.
Last year I opened my garden in Tottenham for the first time as part of the scheme. Over 100 people visited and we raised more than £750 from entry fees and selling home made teas and cakes, preserves and plants. We also served home made wine – you can’t sell it for licensing reasons but you can ask for a donation. It was great to welcome so many people and talk to them about gardening, nature and local news and views. It was a really rewarding experience and I’m doing it again this year.
The garden itself lies within Tower Gardens Estate, a conservation area just to the north of Lordship Lane. The estate was laid out as a model garden suburb by London County Council in the early 20th Century and is recognised for its distinctive cottage style homes in the Arts and Crafts style.
My garden has some traditional cottage garden plants including climbing roses, fruit bushes, herbs and peonies, and a large old weeping willow over the lawn. Over the years I’ve introduced more exotic plants including a Japanese banana, palms, and Mediterranean species like olive trees, a grapevine, fig and oleander. In the shady areas I’ve got a growing collection of ferns and there are also two ponds, one of them built from the foundations of a converted WWII air raid shelter.
The garden will be open on Saturday 7 July from 2 – 6pm. Admission is £3.50; children go free and well behaved dogs are also welcome. There is one small step down into the garden but otherwise access is easy and seating is available. We will be serving home made tea and cake and wine. There will also be plants for sale and all proceeds go to charity.
For more information including address and directions, visit the National Garden Scheme website https://www.ngs.org.uk/find-a-garden/garden/33909/ and please keep your fingers crossed for the weather.