Roehampton Garden Society

London Square Gardens Open Weekend 11-12 June

Feed your curiosity and explore London’s private, secret and little-known gardens across the city over one very special weekend.  There are charges to enter – to support the maintenance of the gardens. A weekend ticket is available.

Gardens range from the historic and  traditional to the new and experimental, and include private gardens, roof gardens, community allotments, gardens belonging to historic buildings, institutions, cafes, schools and shops. 

All about this weekend available here

Garden opening times and days may vary. Some gardens may not be able to open at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.

Wandsworth Heritage Festival – some local events to try:

The Heritage Festival is half way through – but with many interesting events remain to join in.

Below are one or two that may be of interest.

The whole programme is available here and if online events are of interest, they can be found here

Walks, talks and exhibitions next week:

Walk: Crossing the River – a Putney and Fulham Heritage Walk
Organised by Chris Van Hayden Tourist Guide
In this fascinating walk Blue Badge Tour Guide Chris Van Hayden will share the rich history of these two villages. The tour’s main themes are rowing, the English Civil Wars, Mary
Wollstonecraft, sewers, the two churches, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Bishops’ palace.
• Wednesday 8th June, 1pm
• £10
• Meet on the corner of Festing Road/Putney Embankment SW15 1LB
• Booking required – contact 

Walk: Industrial Heritage of the River Wandle
Organised by the Wandle Industrial Museum
John Sheridan will lead this walk along the River Wandle from Earlsfield to the Thames.
Similar to his walk last year (a virtual version of which is on the Wandle Industrial Museum YouTube channel), but containing new material reflecting this year’s theme.
• Wednesday 8th June, 2pm
• Meet at Earlsfield Station entrance, Garratt Lane SW18 3DL
• Booking required – contact

Talk: Wandsworth’s Lost Fishing Village
Organised by the Wandsworth Historical Society
From the seventeenth century to the nineteenth, an area dominated by fishermen and
watermen flourished near Wandsworth Bridge. Dorian Gerhold tells the story of this
remarkable settlement and the families who lived and worked there.
• Wednesday 8th June, 6.30pm
• Wandsworth Town Library, 11 Garratt Lane SW18 4AQ
• Booking advised – contact Wandsworth Town Library on 020 8877 1742

Talk: Stories from the post mortem casebooks of St George’s Hospital, 1841-1946
Organised by Archives and Special Collections, St George’s Hospital
Archivist Dr Juulia Ahvensalmi and Curator of the Museum of Human Diseases Dr Carol
Shiels delve into the historical post mortem casebooks of St George’s Hospital with stories about the patients and diseases in the casebooks, from smallpox to murder cases.
• Thursday 9th June, 1pm
• Library, St George’s, University of London, Cranmer Terrace SW17 0RE
• Book via Eventbrite:

Talk: A Brief History of Rowing in Putney
Organised jointly by the Putney Society and the Wandsworth Society
Local historian Philip Evison charts the development of rowing in Putney and the people and events which became part of its history along the way.
• Thursday 9th June, 8pm
• West Side Church Hall, corner of Melody Road/Allfarthing Lane SW18 2QQ
• Booking not required, but any queries can be sent to 

Exhibition: Wandsworth Prison Museum open weekend
Organised by the Wandsworth Prison Museum
The prison history in over 450 photos and objects. Stories of staff, prisoners, escapes, and hangings. Featuring Oscar Wilde, acid bath murderer John Haigh, traitor William Joyce
(Lord Haw Haw), and great train robber Ronnie Biggs.
• Saturday 11th June and Sunday 12th June, 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
• Wandsworth Prison Museum, North Gate Car Park, Heathfield Road SW18 3HR
• Booking not required

Pictures at an Exhibition

The RGS Centenary Exhibition is in Putney Library from 28th May to 12th June 2022

Part of Wandsworth Heritage week, the exhibition looks at the roots of the RGS, set in local history of its times. There is quite a lot to read, and to see. There are also some lovely paintings of our allotments to see, and Andrew Wilson’s photos of wildlife on our allotments. You are warmly invited to visit. Please do sign the visitor’s book.

A climate emergency centre for Wandsworth – initial event – 5th May 6.30-8.30pm

Wandsworth’s first Climate Hub in a space in Southside Shopping centre will inform people about the climate and ecological emergency, why the timing is critical and what can be done about it.
People may have some idea what the climate emergency is, but very little idea how serious it is, or what to do about it personally or collectively or the many ways there are to act.

Aa a result of a 12,500 strong petition, Wandsworth Council declared a climate emergency in 2019. The council is currently working on reducing its own emissions by 2030. The council’s emissions are estimated to be about 10% of the overall borough-wide emissions, leaving 90% for businesses and residents needing to tackle and support in order to migrate to a zero-carbon economy.

The Climate Hub intends:

  • to encourage people to walk and cycle more, become involved in tree planting, growers groups and ask for green walls in their buildings to improve air quality and so raise awareness and take action through greening and active travel.
  • to offer essential advice on energy fuel switching, debt alleviation, energy saving tips and home surveys.
  • to plan further positive community projects.
  • to demonstrate how people can be empowered to take choices on practical and helpful climate solutions.
  • to offer advice and support on transitioning to a low carbon diet, minimising food waste and cutting down on single-use plastic.

Initially it is planned to offer:

  • weekly energy advice sessions to help those struggling with their energy bills.
  • advice on renewables and energy efficiency data.
  • home carbon audit and later a heat pump offering.
  • host eco-action games days for families to provide an opportunity to learn more about climate action whilst playing games.

To find out more call in at the Southside Centre.

Are you part of an organisation that would like to link with the Climate Hub? Please email to find out more.

Come to the Climate Hub Initial event – bring your ideas with you! Book here

Short Organic Food Growing Course – starting 23rd April

EcoLocal, a Carshalton based charity are running their successful short course to help you to grow your own healthy, organic food without harming the environment.
For further information and to book, visit

Comments from past students….

It’s a great mix of practical and theory so the information goes in twice and ensures you’re more likely to remember!” 
Very knowledgeable tutor”.
I had only just got an allotment so the 6 lessons were exactly in line with what I needed.”

The course teaches eco-friendly gardening; no-dig methods, crop rotation, organic pest control, making natural fertilisers and more. It’s suitable for beginner and intermediate growers. teaching is a mixture of theory and practice, allowing students to try out the skills they learn, understanding how to plan, so they can make the most of their veg patch or allotment.

Running over 6 Saturday mornings, beginning 23rd April 2022.

The course is face to face outdoors for the practical skills teaching elements, taught on the Carshalton Community Allotments, just a 5 minute walk from Carshalton station. The theory is taught live via Zoom on alternate weeks. More travel information

Protecting the Bees – our president speaks in parliament

“We may be an urban constituency, but we have beehives in Putney and we know how essential bees are for pollination. I am very concerned about the decision to use bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. I firmly believe they should be banned.”

Fleur Anderson

With all that’s happening you may not have noticed that the Government has agreed to allow the use of neocotinid pesticides this year – rolling back the EU legislation from 2018 banning these substances. Having just passed the Environment Bill, they then choose to set it aside.

A seed treatment to help sugar beet farmers sounds innocuous – until you understand that these extremely dangerous chemicals pass into every part of the plant -roots, stem, leaves, flowers -and persist in the soil afterwards, harming bees and pollinators for many years to come. They spread rapidly through water run-off contaminating wide areas. The science is devastatingly clear.

Research shows that neocotinoids also harm birds. Just two treated seeds (equivalent) eaten by a songbird makes them lose weight and delays migration, decreasing their chances of survival. (Science 2019)

Our President, Fleur Anderson, spoke in a parliamentary debate about this regrettable decision. See a clip of her speech here.

The Hansard record makes fascinating reading for those interested in this topic. Read the whole debate here:

The virus disease problems experienced by our sugar beet farmers are real enough. The Government themselves have said that they expect the sugar beet industry to no longer rely on bee-killing neonicotinoids by 2023—next year—through the development of pest-resistant varieties and greater use of integrated pest management. Many farmers are working hard on alternative strategies. Sufficient support for the farmers to use alternative pest management could make this year’s devastation unnecessary.

Please be careful what you use on your plot. Our allotments should be a haven for our pollinators. This is a complex topic, but it has been shown that well diluted ionic surfactants (eco washing up liquid) are mostly harmless. Glyphosate is not. Try not to use it – it’s persistent in the soil. If it’s essential to use a tiny amount make sure the bees can’t get to it. ( Non-insecticide pesticide impacts on bees: A review of methods and reported outcomes/ Agriculture, ecosystems & Environment, 2021)

Read Fleur’s newsletter about this and other local issues here

If you’re thinking of digging your plot….

The RGS Allotments are, in general, set on London Clay. This heavy soil has some challenges for cultivation. Success revolves around good nutrients and, importantly, good drainage.

In general you don’t dig a clay soil in January – the autumn is better, when the soil is relatively dry. If wet in Winter it’s best not to walk on the soil until it dries out a little, usually in mid-Spring.

You may find it easier to use a Digging Fork – not a spade…. Read why here

Getting the best out of a clay soil…. Quick facts from the RHS

Clay soils contain more than 30 percent fine clay particles
Clays swell and shrink as they wet and dry, effectively cultivating themselves
Clay soils take longer to warm up in spring
Wet clay soils are easily damaged when dug or walked on
Drought is much less damaging on clay soils than others soil types

Five steps to improving clay soils:

The links in this list lead to further advice from the RHS.

  • Make raised beds to assist drainage and to reduce trampling of the soil
  • Consider adopting a ‘no-dig’ regime, especially in raised beds, as these suit clay soils well
  • Some, but not all, clay soils respond to extra calcium, which causes the soil particles to clump together. Where the soil is acid, lime can be applied, but elsewhere it is better to add gypsum. Gypsum is the active ingredient of many commercial ‘clay improvers’. Test on a small area in the first instance to ensure it is effective on your type of clay
  • Dig in plenty of bulky organic matter such as manure or, ideally, composted bark, as this can make a noticeable improvement to the working properties of clay
  • Apply organic mulches around trees, shrubs and other permanent plants in Spring as these will reduce summer cracking and help conserve moisture