Roehampton Garden Society

A Green Space Map to see in Store now

London has become the world’s first National Parks City.

Our map – available to all members to browse in the Store -shows all green spaces and water reservoirs within the M25 area.

The aim of the National Parks City is to encourage more people to enjoy the great outdoors and to support all Londoners, and the city’s businesses and institutions, in making the city greener, healthier and wilder.

More than half of the world’s population now live in cities and the trend towards more urban-living is growing; London is set to be home to over 11 million people by 2050. Cities have to adapt if we want liveable neighbourhoods in the future that respond to the challenges of climate change, help to conserve biodiversity and provide people with healthy, active lifestyles. A study has shown the capital avoids £950 million per year in health costs due to the benefits Londoners gain from using green spaces.

So many places to go and things to enjoy! See much more on this website.

Watering plants and conserving water

Water, precious water

We are entering a possible drought situation so we all need to do what we can to avoid wasting water. Also it is part of our ethos of being environmentally responsible to conserve water as much as possible.

A few tips on how we can help use less water:

  • Do not use a sprinkler. So much of the water evaporates and it is against RGS rules (Rule 22)
  • Water the ground as near to your plants as possible. This also helps with weed control as you won’t be watering the weeds as well as your plants.
  • Watering under the top growth of your plants will help to reduce water evaporation as it will tend to be cooler and will create a humid environment.
  • Can be good to have a watering hole next to larger, water hungry plants like tomatoes and the cucurbit family of plants (courgettes, cucumber, pumpkin, squashes etc). An upside down plastic bottles with the bottom removed works well – see photo. Water into the bottle. Not only does this mean water goes to the plants’ roots it also means you are not watering the weeds.
  • Ensure you have good seals in your hose pipe system. The brass tap attachments are usually better than the all plastic ones.
  • Try to avoid watering in the heat of the day. Best to water either early in the morning or as late as possible in the evening.

Alone we won’t prevent a hose pipe ban but at least we will be doing our environmental best.

with thanks to Helen Finch.

And for even more good watering advice – see the RHS website

Will you help count our Butterflies?

Your help urgently needed

Sir David Attenborough, president of Butterfly Conservation, is appealing for us all to help with the butterfly count this year. It’s such an important resource for conservation. There’s still time – we can submit results until 7th August.

Read all about the appeal from the BBC here.

Looking at the interactive map of results in Roehampton shows that there are none for our allotment sites yet. You can see the online map here.

All you have to do is spot how many butterflies you see in a 15 minute period when you’re on your allotment, and try your best to identify them. To help do that we have a special website pdf that you can keep on your phone – download here.

There’s even more help with identification from the butterfly conservation website here.

It’s fun to learn about butterflies – and the whole family can do this together. No limit to the amount of times you do 15 minutes worth!

If you can do that this week, please email your results to and we will fill them in on their website. You need to say exactly when the 15 minutes were (date and time, please) and which site you were on.

You can fill in your results yourself here if you prefer- the post code for Site 3 is: SW15 5AR and for Site 2: SW15 5HF. You can also use their app to record sightings – easy to use. You will need to set up an account with Butterfly Conservation.

Hidden gardens to visit in the sunshine

Some destinations you may not know about to visit this August…from Time Out

Vauxhall Park Lavender Garden

This small square field of purple buds and fragranced green foliage can be found between the rose pergola and miniature model village in Vauxhall Park. There’s a community lavender harvest at the end of the summer, which is then distilled to produce litres and litres of lavender oil!

Tube: Vauxhall

The Red Cross Garden

Originally intended to give Southwark children from nearby tenements a space to play, this Victorian garden has been restored to its original design, complete with pond, cottage, bandstand and formal borders.

Redcross Way London SE11EX Tube: London Bridge

Morden Hall Park

Kingfishers perch on reeds by the riverbank, and an old-fashioned waterwheel is slowly turned by the gentle current – in a public space just a few minutes’ walk from the Northern line! 020 8545 6850 Tube: Morden

And to find hidden gardens further afield – do check out the full article from Time Out here

At the Garden Museum this Summer

The Garden Museum’s summer exhibition will celebrate Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic children’s book The Secret Garden. Explore how different artists’ illustrations from the past hundred years bring the story to life, embrace the healing power of gardens, and discover the true story of Burnett’s real ‘secret garden’ which inspired the book.

An exhibition suitable for all ages, with interactive games and trails for children to learn about the plants, animals and stories found in The Secret Garden and to inspire young visitors to try their hand at gardening.

From 6th July to 4th September – Adults £14 (seniors £11 and other concessions) Under 16’s Free with adult. More information and booking

and an accompanying workshop for children…

Family Cooking Workshop | Secret Garden Focaccia

£5 per child – but accompanying adult free. Find out more here

Growing tomatoes

Most of us try to grow tomatoes in the summer time, but it’s not always as straightforward as it looks.

Is your tomato plant growing like a triffid this year? Is it a cordon type or a bush type? What’s the difference?

There’s some good advice from the RHS about the different varieties and how to treat them here

and – the less well known Mr-Tomato-King (!) here

Cordon tomatoes
Remove side shoots on cordon tomatoes

Two news items about greening outdoor spaces..

These two news items show the growing interest in what happens to our outdoor spaces and how to make them greener

The first is about a campaign for the right to grow in unused spaces – an interesting idea you might like to know more about…
People should be given the right to turn road verges, sterile lawns around hospitals and underused public spaces into vegetable gardens and orchards, say ‘Incredible Edible’, campaigners for a “right to grow” law.

Read more from the Guardian here

The Guardian May 2022

The second is about those huge areas of asphalt that schools sometimes call a ‘playing field’. Rising temperatures make these difficult to use – so imaginative designs come into play – with some lovely pictures of what is possible……

Out with asphalt: US schoolyards transformed into green oases – in pictures

With thanks to Greg Willcox

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.