Open Garden Squares Weekend: Barbican gardens

Tickets are now on sale for Open Garden Squares Weekend 2016 which takes place on June 18-19. A single ticket admits visitors to 211 of London’s most exclusive, fascinating and unusual green spaces from roof-top gardens and private squares to pop-up orchards and barge gardens, several of which are on the Barbican’s doorstep, with some within the Estate itself – Beech Gardens and Fann Street Wildlife Garden.

St Josephs

St Joseph’s Garden

Very close by are the Golden Baggers Vegetable Garden on the Golden Lane Estate, St Joseph’s garden, a mini labour of love originally devised by Father Bruno Healy, former priest of the tiny St Joseph’s Catholic Church just behind Waitrose, Postman’s Park and the pop-up garden on Barbican Station – to which a number of Barbican residents contributed and which is believed to be the only community garden on the London Underground network.  There are many more within easy walking distance of the Estate, as well as all across London.

Activities including talks, guided walks, children’s crafts, nature activities, home-grown refreshments and more will be on offer.

Open Garden Squares Weekend is organised by the London Parks & Gardens Trust (LPGT), who work to protect and promote London’s green open spaces.

Caroline Aldiss founded the event in 1998 with the support of the London Parks and Gardens Trust and English Heritage. Around 40 private squares participated. For the first few years, the event was organised purely by an extremely committed group of volunteers and grew organically.

In 2007 thanks to development grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, part-time paid staff were engaged to develop the reach and nature of the event. This investment saw the event grow steadily reaching a peak of 215 gardens in 2011. The Weekend was supported by organisations such as Loire Valley Wines, Transport for London, Capital Gardens and Evans Cycles.

Today the weekend continues to be run almost entirely by volunteers. A core team sources new gardens and manages the website, applications for the event, publicity/marketing and the production and distribution of the event guidebook, tickets and publicity materials. Most of the people involved in opening their gardens for OGSW do so voluntarily and there is also another pool of volunteers who spend about half a day welcoming visitors and checking/selling tickets in gardens which need extra help. Any surplus made from the event is divided between eligible participating gardens and the LGPT.  More details are available on the on the Open Gardens Square website: www.opensquares.org.