MPGA show support for the White Garden project

The Friends are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association (MPGA) to support the purchase of plants for the White Garden. The MPGA has provided funding to purchase all of the new roses for the garden – Rosa ‘Iceberg’, Rosa spinosissima ‘Double White’ and Rosa ‘Little White Pet’. Some of the roses have already been planted at our the Community Planting Day in October and the remaining ones will be planted this Saturday at the next planting day (10am-4pm in the White Garden).

The MPGA is dedicated to preserving and protecting gardens and green spaces across London.


One of the new Iceberg roses


Trees, shrubs and pumpkin soup!

The first Community Planting Day took place in the White Garden on Saturday. We were delighted with the progress we made. Over 20 volunteers came along to help – some old friends and many new faces as well. We concentrated on planting trees and shrubs to create the framework for the garden. If you take a visit to the White Garden over the next week or two see if you can spot the new arrivals: 7 new Iceberg roses, familiar Fatsia japonica, sweetly-scented Sarcococca (also known as sweet box), and some stunning new dogwoods. A hearty lunch of homemade pumpkin and ginger soup was served in the garden and helped to get everyone through the afternoon – thanks to everyone who came to help! If you are interested in getting involved then the next planting day takes place on Saturday 1st November when we will be concentrating on planting the herbaceous perennials. Meet in the Rookery Cafe at 10am. We hope to see you there!

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Feeding the soil

Have you noticed a funny smell in the White Garden recently? You may have done as we have added over 20 tonnes of mushroom compost to the beds in the last few weeks in preparation for the new plants. Mushroom compost is a rich source of organic matter and is an excellent material for improving the soil. As far as we know the beds haven’t been fed in over ten years, so they were very hungry beds! Thanks to all of the volunteers from Lloyds Bank and The Challenge Network who helped to do all the hard work.

The Challenge Network


Team of helpers from The Challenge Network, Saturday 27th September



Work begins in the White Garden

We held our first work day in the White Garden last Friday. Thirteen volunteers worked alongside Lambeth Parks to remove plants and start digging over the soil in preparation for the new design. We removed some of the large shrubs (such as the Asmanthus and Lilac) that are casting too much shade over the garden plus numerous smaller plants that do not form part of the new design. Many of the plants have been potted up in the community garden and Patrick and Colin, the Park Gardeners, are going to try and find homes for them elsewhere in the Rookery.

Amongst the undergrowth we discovered all kinds of wildlife including a timid green frog, a family of newts and numerous creepy crawlies. We made sure we left some plant debris behind so the creatures still had somewhere to hide. A friendly robin watched over the proceedings and pecked away at the freshly turned soil. The main event of the day was undoubtedly the removal of the pampas grass. Rather surprisingly it was not too difficult to remove and the three gardeners who had been delegated this difficult task saw it away in a matter of minutes. Well done them!

The work continues this Thursday when a group of volunteers from Lloyds Bank will be digging in 10 tonnes of mushroom compost. If you would like to see the work in progress, or even lend a hand, then come to the White Garden between 10am-3pm.

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Display of competition entries at Streatham Library

Earlier in the year, we held a competition for local primary schools to redesign the Rookery Centenary flowerbed, the circular raised bed near the main entrance to the Rookery. We received over 40 entries from children at Crown Lane, Woodmansterne, Sunnyhill, and Hitherfield Primary Schools.

We are delighted to say that a display featuring the winning entry and the runners-up is now up at Streatham Library in the room adjacent to the Children’s Library. Make sure you take a look next time you are visiting the library!

We have commissioned Kernock Park Plants to create the carpet bedding display based and they are currently growing over 900 plants for it. The bed will be installed in late August. In the meantime, we are sorry that the Centenary bed is not looking its best but we are confident that it will be worth the wait!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the participants for their inspirational entries – it was great to see the Rookery through your eyes.

New Heritage Trail on display this Sunday

Have you ever wondered what The Rookery was like before it was a public garden, where the old Rookery house used to stand, or which plants in the Rookery come from South America? Now is your chance to find out!

This Sunday, as part of Open Garden Squares, we will be running a Heritage Trail around the garden. The trail has been created the Rookery Garden Volunteers and offers a glimpse in to the Rookery’s fascinating history and horticultural heritage.

You could be in with the chance of winning £50 worth of plants inspired by The Rookery if you manage to answer all ten questions correctly! Come to the Rookery between 10am-5pm this Sunday and ask for Quiz Sheet at the gazebo by the main entrance.

We hope to see you there!

From all the Rookery Garden Volunteers

Delightful delphiniums win the day!

The Friends hosted a stall at the community fete at the newly re-opened Streatham Library on Saturday. It was a great event – the hall was packed all day with local people collecting information from community organisations, indulging in the fantastic offering of cake from the W.I., and generally enjoying the buzz. We got the chance to talk to people about our work on the Common and in particular our plans to re-design and re-plant the White Garden.

We offered passersby the opportunity to choose a plant for the new White Garden from a list of four choices. The contenders were: Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’, Delphinium ‘Galahad White’, Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ and Cynara cardunculus. We received 98 votes in total and we’re delighted to say that Delphiniums won the day!

These stately white-flowered perennials will be making an appearance in the new planting scheme, to be planted later in 2014.


Delphinium ‘Galahad White’