Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Open Garden Squares Weekend.

I visited a few urban gardens that were open as part of the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend. I went over to Kings Cross, for the Skip garden a mobile garden on the
re -development sites around Kings Cross.

  I hadn't been over there for a long time, and the changes around St Pancras and Kings Cross Station are enormous. Still lots of building sites, but clearance around the canal and new buildings too.Apparantly is the second biggest building site after the Olympic park.

I loved the idea of using skips as gardens and on their site there are skips growing a variety of vegetables and a recently planted herb garden in a skip. There are also polytunnels and an office/workspace.

The site is managed by Global Generation, with local volunteers, many of which have no access to a garden themselves. Info abou The Skip garden here

I then went to the Fann Street garden, which is on the Barbican estate and open to the residents. It's a project of the Barbican Wildlife Group. Info here

It's such a delight to turn off the busy road and find that there is a beautiful wildflower meadow in the centre of the garden, looking all the more unusual surrounded by the iconic, tall Barbican buildings.

There is also a cottage garden and pond and natural species attract birds and insects. The boundaries are planted with native trees including holly, beech, blackthorn and hazel.

The last garden I visited was The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, which is on the site of the old railway line opposite the new Dalston Junction station. info here

I loved the mixture of street art and garden on the site. There are pieces by Stik more of his work here
And childrens pieces including scarcrows decorate the space and walls.

 The new tall blocks of flats overlook the garden and residents with out gardens have been regular visitors.. There are spaces for holding workshops and meetings and cooking is one activity that's proved very popular. A team of volunteers keeps the garden running and developing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Pageant

Earlier in the month I went down to the Thames to see and photograph the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant. ( I'm just catching up with processing the  photographs)
It was already crowded when we got there at about 12.30. People had been waiting near Millbank pier, where we ended up, since 6am. It was cold and wet, the news has reported quite a lot of cases of hypothermia on the day. My sister and I stood near one of the gangways to the pier with a number of people dressed in party outfits, they were waiting to board one of the boats on the Thames.

We had a coach with police inside, parked next to the pavement at our backs, which actually kept off some of the wind and pressure from the crowds. Lots of crowd control guys were milling up and down the gangway all the time, but there were no problems. The only action being people climbing on the tree next to us, the crowd control guys tried to get them down, with most of the crowd booing and saying shame, leave them alone! Some came down some got back up.

I managed to get fairly close to the wall to see the pageant, though some shots were taken with my camera held up high. As the pageant slowed down and the rain got heavier, some of the people left and we got right to the front. With all the rain and low light and holding the camera high up, it was pretty tricky to get many good images.

The floating Bellfry leading the pageant.

I enjoyed the enthusiasm of the crowds, though there was no singing along our section, The mobile bellfry with the special bells cast at the Whitechapel foundry, was good to hear coming at the head of the procession and the musical boats were an important addition I think.
Dragon boats.

Sea Cadets carrying the flags of the Commonwealth.

 The manned boat section and the working boats I enjoyed the most overall. Though I felt sorry for any of the boats following the fire boat spraying tons of water as it sailed along. It was bad enough having the rain.

The Fire Flash a London Fire Brigade Fire boat.

The Royal Barge The Spirit of Chartwell.

Inspired by the Queen's hats.

A new use for tesco carrier bags,waiting in the rain for the pageant to start.
Getting home was as difficult as it has been reported and all of us caught up in that were asking how London was going to cope with the Olympics. I can't help but wonder how different it would have been in the sunshine. Was it a big mistake to leave a roof off the Olympic Stadium?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Capture Waltham Forest exhibition opening at Vestry House

The Capture Waltham Forest Exhibition has opened at Vestry House Museum.

Vestry House info here It was good to see my entry and that of a friend of mine, Sue Higgins entry too.
Tree Fairy. by Sue Higgins

The winner of the competition was Rob Boler with a photograph of George, of G.H.M Livings, Leyton   Rob's website here.

George, of G.H.M Livings, Leyton  by Rob Boler
 I liked the atmospheric photograph by Lee Laycock    Vinegar Alley
   The photograph got a commendation at this years Sony World Photography Awards.. Lee's Flickr site here

 I was also struck by the colours in Matt Russell's Photograph  Top of the Market 

 Link to all the winning entries here

It was a lovely afternoon with the garden full of flowers in the sunshine. The Olympic exhibition on in the back of the museum is worth a visit  too
Capture Waltham Forest is on until 30th September  Wednesday to Sunday  10-5pm.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Chelsea Flower Show

With all the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations going on it seems a while ago since I went to the Chelsea Flower Show.  I was there on the last day but not for the sell off. One year I'll stay to take photos, I love the way people disappear under all the plants they buy. Some thing I'd be doing as well.

The gardens seemed more muted in palette this year, softer planting too in general, with more of a wild garden feel to some. Diamuid Gavin produced another talked about garden, an 80ft 7 story garden which won the most Creative Show Garden prize.

Cleve West's Brewin Dolphin Garden won Best in Show with it's topiary yew shapes, hedging and soft herbaceous plants.

Satoya Life won a gold medal and best Artisan Garden. I loved the moss, Japanese Maples and water features, one of my favourite gardens.

Sarah Price's garden for the Daily Telegraph had some beautiful multi stemmed silver birch trees, very relaxed and natural in landscaping.

The Artisan Retreats were just gorgeous, summer houses or garden rooms to work and relax in I could have taken any of them away with me had i the room or money,  I always find it a pleasure to be amongst the gardens and flowers in the marquee, it is such a difference from being on the streets of London. Literally a breath of fresh or perfumed air.