This weekend in London it’s Open Garden Squares Weekend, where more than 200 London gardens will unlock their gates. We know lots of gardeners and growers are looking forward to exploring everything from traditional squares to roof terraces and allotments.
But for something a bit special – and in our wonderful Walthamstow – the Hornbeam team have organised Waltham Forest’s Green Open Homes, where visitors can have a peek around homes with a green twist. Each green open host has done something to make their home more energy efficient, warmer, cheaper to run, or sustainable. Hosts will be sharing their practical and creative eco ideas on how to cut bills and improve homes.
There’s never been a more important time for all of us to think about ways to make our homes and lives more green and environmentally friendly, so here are our three top recommendations especially for gardeners and growers.
1. Rainwater harvesting system
Many of us use water butts to make the most of rainwater in our gardens, but Clare and Dan have gone to the next level. Their rainwater harvesting system installed in their Victorian terraced home collects rainwater in a tank under their garden and feeds two toilets and a washing machine.
“While we were having the kitchen extension done we got the builder to dig a hole for a 1500 litre tank in the garden – a bit bigger than the size of a bath. Then piping got fitted to it which goes from the drainage downpipe under the ground to the tank, which was turfed over and a pump takes it to the cistern at the top of the house. You can’t see anything.”
Meet Claire and Dan at stop number 5 on the Waltham Forest Green Open Homes trail. Saturday 18 June, 10am-4pm only; full address is 51 Ritchings Ave, E17 6LD.
2. Monty Don-created garden
In Nicola and Oli’s garden, recycling and upcycling a variety of materials contribute to a rustic and homely feel. Their lovely seaside-themed back garden was made over by Monty Don’s TV show ‘Big Dreams, Small Spaces’, and features reclaimed pebbles and industrial style planters. Anybody looking to get some ideas about upcycling garden projects should check this one out.
“I used to live by the sea and really miss it. This gives me a taste of the seaside in Walthamstow and uses recycled and reclaimed items which is a bit of an obsession of mine!”
Meet Nicola and Oli at stop number 12 on the Waltham Forest Green Open Homes trail. Saturday 18 June, 10am-2pm, and Sunday 19 June 11am-1pm; full address is 121 Billet Road, E17 5DS.
3. Fruit tree heaven and solar panel power
The roof of Lanka’s house is fitted with solar panels. The money she makes from selling her electricity from the solar panels back to the electricity company is much higher than bank interest. If you’ve been thinking about the practicalities and savings of solar panels, learning more from Lanka is a great place to start.
Organic gardening in a small back garden which includes 9 fruit trees. She also grows vegetables in the front garden.
Meet Lanka at stop number 2 on the Waltham Forest Green Open Homes trail. Saturday 18 June, 3-6pm only; full address is 172 Munchison Rd, Leyton E10 6LX.