The great ‘summery’ outdoors in London

Well I’ve heard its fine weather in London at the moment! Wahh…well, here’s a little to whet the appetite for a spot of sun. I mean, it could show its face at some point over the next few months. Stranger things have happened…look at those two all chummy in the pic below!

Open Squares Weekend 


The established city-wide sync of private and lesser known gardens is coming up. The programme includes Downing Street (is SamCam more of a Deadly Nightshade or creeper kind of girl?), the covetable West London stuccoed house gardens and a smattering of private roof gardens and church gardens. Some require booking ahead, others work on a ballot system, and the rest you can stroll into (once you’ve purchased your ticket £10).

www.opensquares.org8-9 June

Chelsea Physic Garden


Unusual Edible by Otter Farm’s Mark Diacono, the UK’s only climate change farm, home to orchards of dwarf kiwis, sweet cicely, chocolate vines, Japanese wineberries, pecans, quince, almonds, Szechuan pepper and apricots, as well as a forest garden szechuan pepper, apricots and a vineyard. Mark is also Head Gardener at River Cottage where he grows the fruit and vegetables for the cookery school, runs courses, and leads their continuing drive for sustainability. 

Sunday 16th June, 2-3.30pm. £25

James Wong’s Incredible Edibles – presenting an array of 21st century crops that will flourish in our blustery North Atlantic climate. From goji berries to food-mile free sweet potatoes.

15th September, 2-3.30pm. £25

Kew, the Grande Dame of the British outdoors


Kew’s Palm House is home to over 60 weird and exotic edible plants – and this summer they’re celebrating the amazing bounty of the plant world with a Incredibles and Tutti Frutti boating experience with Bompas & Parr – transforming the historic Palm House Pond into a fruit salad boating lake! Hop aboard our fruity boats and row your way around the pond and through the mysterious grotto hidden beneath the Pineapple Island. Book your 30 minute time slot in advance to avoid ‘disappointment’ but I think many of us have encountered a vaguely underwhelming Bompass & Parr experiment by now. My bets would be on other related events.

Saturday 25 May until 1 September

The Global Kitchen Garden will feature over 90 edible plants from every corner of the globe. Two semi-circular inner beds will be dedicated to herbs while five outer beds will represent different regions of the world including South America, West Asia and Europe. Visitors can discover where some of our best loved and most obscure food plants have travelled from.

Sat 25 May to Sun 3 November 2013

And if you’d rather use the garden as a setting, book up for a screening of Cinema Paradiso, Thursday 12th September. It’s usually a reliable month with an Indian Summer lulling you into a false sense of security before hitting you round the chops with Autumn.

Garden Museum


Back in Zone 1, the all-too-often overlooked Garden Museum on Lambeth Palace is one to check out. The chefs at the café forage in the undergrowth to peddle Celeriac & Potato Gratin, Beetroot & Feta Fritters and pudds like Butternut Squash Cake and Courgette, Ginger & Lime Cake.

The Garden Museum and American Embassy present a symposium surveying international avant garde practice in green roof design, horticulture, ecology and growing cultural significance. Karla Dakin is a landscape architect, informed by art and the avant garde – she has designed a roof garden for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado and the 10,000 square foot green roof for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Dusty Gedge, President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations and integrates art into landscapes with a focus on green roofs, low impact design, permaculture, biodynamic and master gardening, as well as teaching garden design and architectural theory. John Little founded the Grass Roof Company and has since designed and built over 70 green roof buildings, often combining the living roofs with habitat walls.

11.00-16.30, Ticket price includes lunch and coffe break. Tickets Friends £60, Non-Friends £80, Students/Concessions £50

The Shed


A new dining spot with a small yard. Brothers Oliver and Richard Gladwin create dishes created from family grown Sussex produce and other local suppliers. Sticky spatchcock quail, mouthfuls of mackerel sashimi, rabbit ravioli…the list goes on. Yes, I’m afraid it’s part of the small plate club…

122 Palace Gardens Terrace, London, W8 4RT

King Henry’s Walk Garden N1

My favourite hidey hole in town which has a great pogramme for ridiculously cheap classe. First up, Medicinal Uses for Herbs by Ellie Holly, a fully qualified medical herbalist. Her talk will focus on the herbs growing locally and their medicinal and therapeutic uses. She’ll suggest some easily made recipes, such as herbal syrups, to treat common conditions. 

Saturday 22nd June, 2.00 to 3.30

It wouldn’t be summer without Kitty Travers’ Ice cream Making Masterclass How to make unusual flavours from fruit, leaves and flowers with tastings and recipes. She’ll show basic methods with and without an ice cream maker, demonstrating the ancient ice and salt method which has to be seen to be believed. I’m not madly into ice cream but I’ve done this twice and have never tasted anything as intense since.  

Tuesday 6th August, 7.00 to 9.00

Numbers are limited and places must be booked in advance. To book, email your name, telephone contact number and number of places required to or phone/text 07901 931018.

Cost £10, concessionary rate available.

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