Roundabout-Junction of Victoria Park Road and Lauriston Road


I started gardening on the roundabout in 2002. I have a pottery workshop nearby and noticed how ignored and untended it had become. At first it was a guerrilla effort but I then got permission and a contract from Hackney Council. (I pay them £5 pa). It is a community garden in the sense that I do it for the community -there are rules about how I do it and who can accompany me, so I cannot include everyone in the work.

I am grateful to several local residents who help, but as I often go out on the spur of the  moment, when the weather is right, and I have the time, and things need attention, I do not organise it like a ‘project’. The spontaneity of it is part of my enjoyment.

The roundabout is raised nearly a meter from road level, so it is mostly visible from the side, and from a distance of 4m to the surrounding pavements -unless you are up top on a passing double decker bus. Incidentally this also makes it tricky to take good broad photos as one is either close recording small groups of planting or up in the sky with a drone which generalises the whole thing!

I try to have things in flower all year. I encourage plants that look after themselves and self seed, and cannot plant anything valuable as it may disappear overnight! It is open to all weather and can get very dry so this also dictates what is happy to survive out there. And I try to keep sight lines visible through the roundabout, in a cross form -for both safety of drivers and connection of pedestrians..

People often drop into my workshop to comment on the planting and thank me. I have never wanted to put any signs up, there are already enough road directions signs there, but if anyone is curious to know who cares for the roundabout they have only to ask a local shopkeeper.

And do get in touch if you want to help.

Spitalfields Life Blog