The Olden Garden
A Community Garden in Highbury
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The Olden Community Garden is a two-acre oasis of greenery a couple of hundred yards from the new Arsenal stadium in a densely residential part of north London. Through 30 years of local activity, a disused council yard and a railway embankment have been turned into an herbaceous garden, an orchard, a series of vegetable terraces, a small meadow, and an acre of woodland – the largest in the borough. Because of the vulnerability of the site the garden can’t be open all the time and has to be a membership organisation. Because it’s a horticultural garden, and the woodland is of ecological importance, children have to be supervised by an adult at all times; but membership is open to anyone living or working in or near Islington for an annual subscription of £20 and a member can bring in a discreet number of family and friends.
There is a well-equipped Garden House that can be hired. There is also a disabled toilet.
The garden is now maintained by two one-day-a-week professional gardeners, under the direction of the annually-committee; but much of the work is done by volunteers either on our third-Saturday-of-the-month Workdays or on a Tuesday when they join the two gardeners.
(This year’s Workdays have been suspended since March)
The garden tries to be self-sustaining: it uses harvested water, composts all its green waste, and creates wildlife habitats from woody debris. It has a fruitful orchard and a flourishing vegetable garden.
The garden committee tries to steer a path between guardianship of a significant environmental asset and making it accessible to local people. They work closely with other organisations, schools, colleges, OAP groups, etc. The garden also hosts events to which the public is invited. We host horticultural events, seed swaps, plant sales, etc. and have run several music events in association with the Chelsea Fringe.
Olden Community Garden is a registered charity No. 1158105
The nature of the Olden Garden site means it has to be a membership garden. Membership runs from 1st September to 31st August each year. Each member has access for themslves, family members and a reasonable number of close friends. The current annual subscription is £20.