Guest blog from the Hammersmith Community Gardens Association

Phoenix Farm in White City
We hope you all had a lovely Easter from all of us at Hammersmith Community Gardens Association.

One member of our team is still caring for the plants and animals at Phoenix Farm in White City, while our volunteer gardening sessions are postponed, to keep everyone safe. One of our amazing volunteers, Lydia, made a short film of Phoenix Farm over the Easter weekend. We hope you enjoy this 90 second video of peacefulness and calm as much as we did! Here is the link to the video:

This month, our head gardener, Cath, has had a lot to do in the garden! She has been busy sowing a huge variety of seeds in the greenhouse, such as: tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins, French beans, coriander, basil and outside she has been sowing broad beans, sunflowers, peas, carrots, lettuce, rocket and spinach! If you are looking for some fun, food growing and nature craft ideas you can check out our website or sign up to the HCGA newsletter:​

Over the last week, we have given away over one hundred free ‘growing kits’ at Ravenscourt Park (outside the cafe) and on the White City Estate! Next week, we will be giving away more growing kits in Queen’s Park Gardens.

Keep an eye on our Twitter page for updates: @HCGAGardens. Inside the growing kit you will find sunflower seeds and other vegetable seeds, instructions on how to sow and plant them, small pots, compost and ideas for things you can grow at home from your store cupboard or from your food waste. Happy growing!

We have also launched our annual sunflower growing competition so if you would like to enter, sow some sunflower seeds now! You don’t need a garden, why not grow them in pots on your windowsill?! Follow the instructions below to help

New initiatives during lockdown

With this year’s Open Gardens Squares Weekend currently postponed (we are busy investigating how we might provide an alternative event for existing ticket holders later in the year), we are keen to provide our network with interesting and engaging content via our various channels – including the website and social media.

Every week on our social media channels, we are running ‘virtual garden tours’ and highlighting stories from the inventory as well as sharing content from some of those organisations that support our work throughout the year. The inventory can be found at:

In addition, we are now running a series of guest blogs by some of the gardens who â€‹open up their sites as part of the London Gardens Trust​’s â€‹regular activities (which celebrate and champion all historic green space across the capital whether including public parks, allotments or garden squares).

The guest blogs will give updates from gardens about what they are doing during lockdown, videos (where possible) of activity happening that week and even ideas and tips for your garden or growing space. 

Keep an eye out for new ideas and initiatives which we hope to bring together over the upcoming weeks. Hope you enjoy!

Lecture: Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Gardens Adviser to Historic Royal Palaces and President of the London Parks and Gardens Trust on “Keeping up the Royal Gardens”

Please join us at the latest lecture in the LPGT’s Winter Lecture Series 2019-20 where we will be joined by Gardens Adviser to Historic Royal Palaces and President of the London Parks and Gardens Trust, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan.

Todd’s talk will focus on “Keeping up the Royal Gardens” and will cover recent and ongoing landscape initiatives at the Royal Palaces.

Few British landscapes are so rich in historical associations, or have been so celebrated and admired, as Hampton Court; and fewer can boast gardens so varied and numerous – from complex parterres to miles of grand and venerable avenues –comprehensively charting five centuries of landscape change. Though less extensive and outwardly magnificent than Hampton Court, the gardens at Kensington Palace are equally distinguished and diverse: for over three centuries this royal estate has been the home to kings and queens, and its buildings and gardens have been shaped by some of the country’s pre-eminent architects and gardeners.

Todd will discuss his role as Gardens Adviser to Historic Royal Palaces and talk about some of the dramatic landscape improvements which have taken place at both royal estates in recent years. These include the redevelopment of the King’s Privy Garden, the replanting of the Long Water Avenue (est.1662), the re-establishment of the Lower Orangery Garden and the re-forming of the New Kitchen Garden. He will also take a look at future plans, including the refurbishment of the c17th Wilderness Garden at Hampton Court and the re-presentation of the Orangery Lawn at Kensington Palace.

Since entering private practice in 1990 Todd has advised on a number of public and private historic landscapes. He has developed and implemented long-term landscape management plans for the National Trust, English Heritage and a wide range of private owners in the UK and abroad.

He recently created and implemented a new garden in Chapel Court at Hampton Court Palace (for Historic Royal Palaces) to mark the 500th anniversary of King Henry VIII’s accession to the Throne and completed the redesign of Kensington Palace Gardens to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.

Todd holds a variety of advisory roles including Gardens Adviser to Historic Royal Palaces (with responsibilities at five Royal Palaces in Greater London); and founder member and President of the London Parks & Gardens Trust. He lectures widely on landscape history and design both in Britain and abroad, is a lecturer on the MA course in Historical and Sustainable Architecture at New York University, and contributes regularly to a range of publications

We do hope you are able to join us for what will be an interesting and informative lecture.

As with all our lectures lectures it will take place from 7 to 8pm on a Monday evening, in this case Monday 13th of January. Doors open 6.30pm if you would like to join us for a glass of wine beforehand

The lecture will be held at The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street London EC1M 6EL via the entrance through courtyard to far end and down the stairs.

Tickets are ÂŁ10 for LPGT members and ÂŁ12 for non-members which includes a glass of wine. Tickets can be purchased from

A new green space for London- a view of the Grand Surrey Canal Linear Park

The London Parks & Gardens Trust is all about protecting London’s historic green landscapes and celebrating them.  It does this in many ways including through active research and recording to document the significance of each space.  The Trust invited one of our intrepid volunteers Candy Blackham to photograph and investigate a new space that is currently not on our Inventory and report back. Candy is a keen photographer when she isn’t helping the Trust and she has taken all the photos in this article. Below are her findings!Read More »

The Gardens Trust: Know It, Love It Project

The Gardens Trust, an organisation with similar aims as the LPGT, has been commissioned to deliver the  Know It, Love It Project.

This project will train volunteers to research and record local historic parks and gardens and then help conserve them by surveying and writing Statements of Significance. It is part of the Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme – a 5 year programme seeking to restore, discover and celebrate one of the last remaining landscapes of London and Essex as it once was.

The workshops are designed to be entry-level and will teach the role that research can play in conserving parks and gardens, to find and use historic documents, to recognise and survey a historic designed landscape and its features as you walk around it, and to write-up your knowledge so it can help protect the site in future. They will be followed by work over the next two years to write Statements of Significance for other sites in the Land of the Fanns area.

The workshops are free of charge, but places are limited to 30 so please book by emailing as soon as possible or by 31st July at the latest. 

For some of the workshops we will be splitting volunteers into smaller groups looking at Dagnam, Belhus, Thorndon and Warley Place – please indicate your preference and we will do our best to accommodate it.

Workshop dates (please note that they are designed as a package so you should aim to attend all five):


9th September 2019


Stubbers Adventure Centre, Upminster Workshop 1: Know It, Love It How research and recording volunteers can help

conserve historic parks and gardens

17th September 2019

10am-5pm (depending on your group)

Essex Record Office, Chelmsford Workshop 2: Historic Document Detectives Learning how to find and use historic archive material
23rd September 2019


NB volunteers are only requested to attend one Workshop 3.

Dagnam Park, Harold Hill Workshop 3: Reading a Landscape on the Ground How to recognise key features in historic parks and gardens
24th September 2019



Belhus Park, South Ockendon Workshop 3: Reading a Landscape on the Ground How to recognise key features in historic parks and gardens
25th September 2019




Country Park, Brentwood

Workshop 3: Reading a Landscape on the Ground How to recognise key features in historic parks and gardens
7th October 2019



Warley Place, Brentwood Workshop 3: Reading a Landscape on the Ground: How to recognise key features in historic parks and gardens
15th October 2019


Thames Chase Forest Centre,

Broadfields, Pike Lane, Upminster RM14 3NS

Workshop 4: The Significance of Your Research Using research and recording to conserve landscapes through surveys and Statements of Significance
5th November 2019


Thames Chase Forest Centre, Broadfields, Pike Lane, Upminster RM14 3NS Workshop 5: You Can Do It! Mop-Up Session