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This Week’s Guest Blogger is Geoffrey Juden

Personally I believe that a garden is in all people’s mind, whether a pot plant or an old mattress in the yard, we all have our perceptions.   The general thought of gardening is that we attend an outside area that we are able to derive pleasure from, some have a gravel area with patio planters, others a garden as we all understand, flower beds or vegetable beds, maybe both. However what we are all aware of is the climate emergency, how the environment responds, therefore it must be up to every one of us to understand what we can as individuals achieve.

I am in the fortunate position to be the chairman of The East London Garden Society, have been for some years now, so I will explain a passion of the communities in East London, what they wish to attain.

When approached with a development in Shoreditch, near Liverpool Street Station, a public realm was to be for the local community, but whether ignorance or not being to hold a brief, the design group had decided what the community should have, not what the community wanted.  This approach was doomed to failure, The East London Garden Society was requested to become involved, looking at the remit, Shoreditch was compromised with very poor air quality, the new development would make it worse, it was therefore decided to have as much vegetation atop the redundant rail viaduct, there being also a community interpretive part to the public realm/community park.  The largest Forest Garden in Europe was born.

Taking five years for the developers to understand what a forest garden was, indeed to agree the concept, a lot of work was involved.  Once we had all agreed on the way forward, a colleague mentioned, a further expanse for nature in the area, the redundant viaduct ventured a further 2 miles, which in turn led to many parks and gardens along the route.  The River Thames was greeted at many exits.  We had found a five mile stretch from Hackney, through Tower Hamlets to Newham, all London boroughs, a nature playground for children of all ages, disability friendly.  The Great eastern Parks Route encompasses a nature reserve, a bird sanctuary, a forest garden, much more.

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