The Eastern Curve Garden – A Quiet, Secret Oasis of Greenery in Dalston, London

Eastern Curve GardenLocated in Hackney, one of the greenest Boroughs in London that has over sixty parks, gardens and open spaces, The Eastern Curve Garden has its entrance next to the Hackney Carnival Mural, at 13 Dalston Lane in London. It is just a two-minute walk away from Dalston Junction Overground and about five minutes walk from Dalston Kingstand Overground stations. It is easy to get to the Garden even by bus on routes 30, 38, 56, 242 and 277 that stop just outside  the Garden and routes 67, 76, 149 and 243 that stop on nearby Kingsland High Street. Bike racks are also available outside the Garden next to the Mural.

Hackney is home to an impressive array of green spaces ranging from the largest concentration of football pitches in Europe at Hackney Marshes to the historic Springfield and Clissold parks, from the vibrant London Fields to the quiet walled garden and the Hackney City Farm within Haggesrston Park. However, hidden within these famous green spaces, is a beautiful garden which is a little special oasis being located at a space that was once a railway line, known as the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. It was created on the old Eastern Curve railway line that provided a link between Dalston Junction Station and the goods yard and the North London Line.

It is a small garden that has butterfly bushes, wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs including birch, hawthorn and hazel trees, herbs and fruit and veg. The trees have been planted alongside butterfly bushes, bracken and other plants that were already in existence at this neglected site. There are also some little sculptures and odd bits of art here and there and an attractive glasshouse known as the ‘Pineapple House’. You can also find large raised beds for growing food, tomatoes, peppers and scented herbs that are all grown by Dalston residents. The temporary Dalston Mill was built on the site in 2009 by the architectural collective Exyzt but they returned in spring 2010 to create a spacious wooden garden pavilion where events, workshops and gatherings are held. These events take place regularly for both adults and children.

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In reality the garden is much more than just that because of its fantastic urban setting as it serves the purpose of an oasis in the midst of the hectic life in Dalston that remains busy throughout the day and night. Entering the garden gives a feeling of peace and tranquillity, far away from the noise of city life and of course, from your cares and worries. Access to the garden is also available for the disabled as wheelchairs and buggies get easy accessibility. However, it is important to note that there are a number of bark-chip paths. The site also offers an accessible toilet.

Garden Cafe

For the convenience of visitors there is a Garden Cafe where they can relax and enjoy tea, coffee, herbal drinks, beer, cider, wine or the cafe’s special fresh lemonade and sodas. They can also get cakes prepared by Coco & Me, as also their delicious baked treats every Saturday from their stall on Broadway Market. The garden supports the local economy of Hackney by sourcing its drinks and other supplies only from Hackney and East London suppliers, including ‘East London Brewery’, ‘Square Root Sodas’ and ‘Lickalix Lollies’, to the extent possible.

Garden Cafe

The primary source of revenue for the garden for meeting expenses regarding gardening, education programmes and community events is the income from the cafe. The management of the garden and cafe is done by the social enterprise ‘Grow Cook Eat’, set up by Dalston residents who helped establish the Garden in 2010. The garden does not mind people bringing their own picnic or packed lunch to eat there but it expects them to take their rubbish with them when they leave. However, it welcomes any little bit of donation by using the bee and ladybird donation boxes as even a small amount goes a long way to help the garden develop. The garden, however, does not allow visitors to bring any alcohol for consumption as wine, beer, cider etc are available from their licensed cafe.

Pavilion and Pineapple House

The garden offers a big wooden pavilion with plenty of tables and chairs that can be used as a shelter from rain. The ‘Pineapple House’ in the garden is a large conservatory greenhouse that offers a wood-burning stove that can be enjoyed by visitors in winter. They can also keep warm by using hot water bottles, blankets and Stanley the Cat, supplied by the garden. Free Wi-Fi is also offered to visitors who can ask for the password.

Pineapple House

Dogs

Visitors can bring their dog to the garden but they must keep it in a lead all the time, keep it away from food-growing beds and clear their poop.

Contributed by: http://www.themontcalmlondoncity.co.uk/

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