Category Archives: Inspiration

PLANT PLANTS: an urban gardening manifesto

This cheeky graffiti brightens my walks to and from university. This morning, as my garden lay neglected under a layer of frost, it felt like a call to arms.

So here is the East End Gardener’s urban gardening manifesto…

Anyone can be an urban gardener

You don’t need to be a horticulturalist with acres of land and shelves full of plant encyclopaedias. Thanks to the internet, and wonderful blogs like ours, anyone can learn how to look after plants.

Everyone has the right to a green space

We want allotments, community gardens, parks, green rooftops and urban farms for all. Seek them out, fight for more and use the ones you have.

There’s no space too small

The Pothole Gardener proves that even the tiniest crack in the concrete can be home to nature. Think creatively and make the most of your balconies, window sills and rooftops.

Eat home grown

It’s good for you and good for the environment. Try eating something home grown every day, whether it’s spuds from a community allotment or basil clipped from our windowsill herb box.

And above all, PLANT PLANTS!

By Hannah Bass

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Plants you can’t kill

I have a c0nfession to make. I am a plant killer. My beautiful blue hydrangea, bought from Columbia Road and expected to last throughout the unusually warm winter we’ve been having, is now wilted and dead in the front yard. I even once managed to kill a small cactus after completely misjudging the fact that cacti actually need water at some point to live. But it’s time to turn over a new leaf. Thankfully,  some fellow gardening bloggers have come up with lists of “un-killable plants” so I can start becoming a better plant parent. Here’s some links to the best:

Melanie Pinola, has written a post  on  Lifehacker, where she put un-killable plants to the test. She recommends four plants which have managed to survive – air plants, succulent, aloe plant and jade.

Marie Iannotti, a gardener from America, has come up with a comprehensive list of hardy plants on her blog, which also features ways to not kill plants, such as not over-watering them and avoiding salt build-up.

By Natasha Wynarczyk. Photo by Peter Pearson under a CC license

5 good reads for urban gardening: January 2012

Tulips snow winter urban gardening London

The East End Gardener is back after a winter break and ready to welcome the first hints of spring with crocuses and snowdrops.

Here are some of the top reads from the web this month to get you back in the green-fingered mood. Just click on the titles to go straight to the article.

Gardening trend predictions for 2012
MyGardenSchool, blogging for Huffington Post UK, predicts a return to the wild in 2012, with fewer lawns, more shrubs and greater concern for our environmental impact. Thought-provoking post, shame about the grammar…

The revolution will be composted: adventures in radical gardening
We’ve always known that gardeners are sexy and now here’s the proof. The Guardian’s gardening blog is setting out to profile rebel gardeners. They’ve already name-checked East End Gardener favourite, the Hackney FARM:shop  – we can’t wait to see who else is coming up.

Gardens of Eden: the heavenly horticulture blossoming on roofs high above the city
Some divine visual inspiration, courtesy of the Daily Mail – who’da thought it? Some of the most beautiful images are of roof gardens in our beloved London. Oh how we wish the Big Smoke would take a tip from Stuttgart in Germany, where roof gardens have been required for all flat-roofed buildings since 1989.

Winter allotment tips and what to grow now
Lucky enough to have nabbed an allotment? Live Urban Love Rural blog has some top tips for January planting. We’re dreaming of home-grown garlic… get digging!

Ten of the best ways to get stuck into urban gardening
Was urban gardening on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Then welcome on board! The Ecologist has some great ideas for getting started – we particularly like the tips for DIY windowsill planting (and eating).

By Hannah Bass. Photo from The Green Party via Flickr under a CC licence

East End Gardener’s Last-Minute Christmas Guide

Christmas postman gardening urban gardening presents
Christmas is a week away, hurtling towards us like a Crimbo asteroid. You’ve put gift-buying off and now you’re panicking.

No worries! Here is East End Gardener’s Last-Minute Christmas Guide – thoughtful gifts to get the gardeners in your life, helpful hints if loved ones need reminding, or just ideas so you can treat yourself over the Christmas period. Every item listed is available online, so you don’t brave the high street.

For the complete beginner: Rocket Gardens send over a boxful of baby plants, ready for the newbie gardener to pop into a pot or planter. They even offer boxes with different specialities, from readymade gardens perfect for window boxes to boxes of salad greens. Spring vegetable gardens available from £21.99

For the home-loving gardener: These lavendar pillows would smell fantastic in any home AND they go towards a good cause – the Guerilla Gardening project, which is busy making London green again with on-the-fly gardening. Lavender pillow, £15

For the green reader: There are a load of gardening books out there, but we especially like Sarah Raven’s The Great Vegetable Plot, which is a great guide to creating the perfect veg garden – and it includes recipes! The Great Vegetable Plot, £13.28

For the guerilla gardener: Calling all green activists! If you want to see a splash of wildflower colour in your city, opt for these seed bombs – a great way to get growth going in hard-to-reach places. This pack makes up to 20 seed bombs. Seed bomb kit, £5

Merry Christmas from all of us at East End Gardener!

By Zing Tsjeng. Photo from George Eastman House Photography Collection via Flickr under a CC licence.

Pothole Gardening with Steve Wheen

Steve Wheen, better known as  The Pothole Gardener, has been creating little pop-up gardens all over London since last year. His blog chronicles his guerilla gardening adventures and gets hundreds of thousands of hits from all over the world.

You could say gardening’s in Steve’s blood – his granddad was the first to breed red trumpeted daffodils, all the way over in Australia! We caught up with Steve at Columbia Road Flower Market, where we helped Steve with a little garden (read his blogpost about it). Here are our pics from our little adventure, plus Steve’s top tips for wannabe pothole gardeners:

Firstly, have a clear vision of what you’re creating, and picture the little garden in your mind. Plan your garden out and choose the right plants accordingly. Are you going to feature one flower, like a daffodil or a Gerber?

Considering a pothole with the guerilla gardener Steve Wheen

Steve considering a potential pothole garden

Layer your little garden in levels. You want the smaller plants towards the front, and larger plants at the back. Perhaps you might choose some grass to cover the soil? Think about where you want to draw your audiences eye in the garden. Also, try to not plant things which are too tall, especially if you’re planting in a pothole!

Pothole gardener Steve Wheen guerilla gardening

Use a variety of plants with different colours for maximum impact!

Choose plants for the right time of year, think about what’s colourful and in season. My favourites are bulbs in little gardens, but there are so many options available, make sure you do your research.

Pothole gardener Steve Wheen guerilla gardening

Who doesn't love getting Christmas cards in the mail?

If you’re going to add some props, make sure you leave some room for them and try to ensure they’re to scale. There’s no point in having giant props and tiny plants- or the other way around.

Make sure you take your camera with your gardening, and of course, watch out for cars!

Pothole gardener Steve Wheen guerilla gardening

The final product, on an East London side street near you!

Thanks for a great Sunday afternoon, Steve!

By Zing Tsjeng

Greenspiration: Barbican balconies are small but perfectly formed

by Ol.v!er

Balconies at London’s iconic Barbican Estate prove that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to green space.

Our philosophy at the East End Gardener is that there’s no patch of concrete too small to be beautified. Balconies, yards and even window sills can become gardens.

So if you’re planning your pot planting, take inspiration from the Barbican balconies, where tumbling vines and colour-pop peonies bring the Brutalist concrete to life.

by Metro Centric

by Metro Centric

by maistora.

By Hannah Bass