Friday, 12 September 2014

FEATURE: The Herbarium Project at the FGCG // On the concrete

Sonya Patel Ellis of The Herbarium Project visited the site on 12 September to do her first pressing of plants and flowers already in the garden. A great way to report back on what's already growing there. Here's her first report...

A gorgeous sunny afternoon, pressing the wildness that is the Forest Gate Community Garden at 136 Earlham Grove, Forest Gate, London E7. The buddleia jungle has grown even higher since we were last there on the 9 July 2014.

Searching round for specimens for a new Herbarium Project herbarium collection, we stumbled across the most beautiful lilac-coloured, heavily-scented rose, a birch tree sapling, and a hellebores-type plant that looked as though it could have been cultivated in a former garden on the plot. Looking forward to finding out what it is – one of the best bits about creating a herbarium.

Also loved laying the specimens out on a concrete foundation, where an old Victorian villa once stood. Standing in this spot, in the middle of the plot, you really do get a sense of how the space was once a habitable house with a garden at front and back. There's definitely something magical about this location, it's historic past, wild present, and the sense of what it might become in the future.

Watch this space for further developments in the Forest Gate Community Garden Herbarium.

For more details on The Herbarium Project visit or see Ellis' blog At L'Herbier. You can also follow and view updates on Twitter @sonyapatelellis and on a dedicated Facebook page at

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