Have you ever visited an NGS garden? We did, last Sunday in Finchley!

The publishers “The Yellow Book”, a guide to over 3,700 gardens, is the National Garden Scheme, or NGS as they are commonly known.

Every year NGS gardens across England and Wales welcome about 750,000 visitors. Most gardens which open for the NGS are privately owned and open just a few times each year. Some gardens open as part of a group with the whole community involved. The gardens give all the money raised directly to us (including from the sale of teas and plants); the only exceptions being in some cases they ask that a small proportion goes to a nominated local charity.

Garden in Park Crescent

NGS Garden

Our tradition of opening gardens of quality, character and interest is supported by our Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales.

Did you know that we currently give away more than £2.5 million each year to nursing, caring and gardening charities and we have given them a total more than £25 million in the last 15 years. Our office and overheads are small and most of the work is done by volunteers in our county teams and so currently more than 80p in every £1 raised at garden openings goes directly to our beneficiaries.

NGS Garden

NGS Garden

I attended one such garden last Sunday in Park Crescent – just behind Victoria Park. It was a beautiful well kept garden and the £2.50 collected saw a large chunk going to the North London Hospice and the balance going to the NGS. The owner and gardener was Rosie Daniels and one wonders where she finds the time, as after a full days work in central London, she spends a lot of time at home and at The Institute with her main hobby, with stained glass windows.

NGS Garden

NGS Garden

The photographs in this article were all of her garden.

Posted in Arts_crafts, Charities, Nature. Comments Off on Have you ever visited an NGS garden? We did, last Sunday in Finchley!

A New Buzz in Finchley Church End – Is it a Martian? No, it’s a bee-keeper!

Photo of a beekeeper in all his regalia!

Not a man from Star Wars - just a bee-keeper

Barnet and District Bee-keepers Association, as part of their aim to support Barnet bee-keepers and promote the hobby of bee-keeping, have trained five new bee-keepers who live in the N3 and N12 area of LB Barnet.

Two of the new bee-keepers are setting up beehives in a new Apiary at Finchley Church End . The Apiary will be on an allotment plot and is specially screened, approved and welcomed by their Allotment Association Committee

As part of their training as bee-keepers they all undertook the B&D BKA winter bee-keeping course which consisted of ten Saturday afternoon lectures, practical experience and mentorship this spring and summer each Saturday on a B&D BKA bee-hive. They will continue to get support until they are experienced bee-keepers.

At the new Finchley Church End allotment apiary the new bee-keepers are now making their first beehive for their nucleus of bees which is being prepared at the B&D BKA apiary in Totteridge Vale.

If you a find a swarm of honey bees in Finchley, then Barnet and District Bee-keepers in association with Barnet Council will collect them (no fee) and rehouse them. Mr Clive Cohen the B&D district swarm collector can be contacted via Barnet Council or through the link below but cannot deal with wasp nests.

Finchley has a long association with bee-keeping as the eminent Victorian Bee-keeper and Naturalist, William Bernhuad Tegeitmere, who was a close friend of Charles Darwin, lived in the 1870’s in Alexandra Grove, N12 and is buried in East Finchley Cemetery. Barnet & District Bee-keepers Association has been around for almost as long as they are celebrating their 100th year and hope to continue supporting local bee-keepers for at least another hundred years

The Barnet & District Bee-keepers Association email address for rescuing swarms is swarms@barnetbeekeepers.org and their website is at www.barnetbeekeepers.org/sections/Apiarists/swarms.htm

Posted in Nature. 3 Comments »

The Pasture’s 2nd Anniversary celebration

Pastures, approaching the marquee

Yesterday (Sunday) evening saw the volunteers, councillors, Mike Freer our local MP and other friends of the Pastures celebrating the magnificent work the volunteers have put in. They have turned the Pastures into a wild horticultural haven, with special plants of interest to butterflies, lovely paths through the huge open space, up to a little enclosure at the far end with its own bee hive.

The volunteers, who only work during the weekends, have, in 200 days of work, really transformed this originally ugly patch to the beautiful haven of quiet and tranquillity that it is.

The pond from the food table.

There is also a huge pond with fish and in season it is a hotbed of tadpoles and frogs. The fish have to be carefully chosen to be the types that don’t eat tadpoles. Alas, as you can see from the photograph, it was covered with algae but we were told by Ann Brown, who chairs the volunteers, that it was the wrong time to remove it as it would cause a lot of damage. We see the view of the pond over the view of the lovely food provided for this occasion!

The anniversary "nosh"!

It is open between 10am and 5pm, during weekends and public holidays, except after heavy rain. Also it is closed quite a bit during winter months. It really is worth a visit and, to get there is quite easy. If you go down Long Lane up to the North Circular flyover you will find the Finchley Fire Station on the N3 side of the bridge. Opposite the fire station is a little lane (you can’t park a car in it though). Walk up the lane for about 25 yards and you come to a gate in the railings on the right. You are there!

Dogs are not admitted as they could do damage to the delicate work the volunteers are carrying out. But you can get a full description and learn of all the work that is going on from their website.

Layout of the Pasture

Layout of the Pasture

Posted in Charities, Community, Festivities, Nature, Voluntary. Comments Off on The Pasture’s 2nd Anniversary celebration

Dollis Walk refurbishment started, awaiting further funding between the Fursby Ave and Dollis Road section.

Dollis Valley Green Walk

Dollis Valley Greenwalk was voted for by the public to receive one of the ten grants of up to £400,000 from the Mayor of London’s Help a London Park Scheme.

The Mayor of London’s scheme, Help a London park (external link) was established to invest £6million in improving the quality and safety of London’s parks.

Latest news


bookside Walk footpath before works Before    Brookside walk footpath after works After

The Phase 1 footpath improvements are now complete and can be seen at:

Brook Farm Open space (Totteridge Ward), from Totteridge lane to Western Way

Brookside Walk (Finchley Church End and Hendon Ward) from Hendon Lane to Bridge Lane

Brent Park (Hendon Ward) from Bell Lane to North Circular Road


Footpath works (Phase 2):

Windsor open space – works currently programmed for September 2011, subject to consultation

Although the full stretch of the Dollis Valley Greenwalk has been surveyed, due to financial restrictions, some areas of footpath cannot be repaired as part of this project. Areas such as the Fursby Avenue to Dollis Road section, have been identified and will be a priority once further funding becomes available.


The next stage of works is to carry out repairs and maintenance of bridges along the length of the walk.All the bridges have been inspected and works will vary from complete replacement to health and safety works including new handrails and repair to uneven surfaces.

More information may be seen on their website

Posted in History, Nature. Comments Off on Dollis Walk refurbishment started, awaiting further funding between the Fursby Ave and Dollis Road section.

Successful sales at Gordon Road allotments – huge turnout proves its popularity.

Photo of journalist, Pam Taylor.By Pam Taylor (photos by Andrew Taylor)

Gordon Road allotment sale

Gordon Road allotment sale

Gordon Road Allotment plant sale took place this morning. The place was heaving with visitors when we arrived at half past ten.

Laden down with produce purchases
All the people walking out past us were laden down with trays filled with plants. We have friends coming to stay next weekend and they particularly asked me to get some runner bean plants, but unfortunately I was out of luck – the hot, dry weather had killed most of their seedlings, although they were hoping there would be some available next weekend. If they do not sell everything today, then they said they will probably be open next Sunday, so why don’t you pop in.

I managed to find a plant which I’d never heard of (Stachys macrantha ) and the lady selling it very kindly showed me a photo of it in flower – I call that service! It only cost £2 and when I looked it up on the Internet I discovered that it’s an Asian wild flower. The sale was a gardener’s heaven with so many flowering plants, vegetables and herbs for sale at very reasonable prices.

It’s such a shame that they forgot to put their sale into our events page, but I hope that this serves as a reminder for you to call in next Sunday just in case and also to look out for their sale next Spring.

Allotment cafeThey even have their own café on the allotment…

And their own loo, this is a new French invention that doesn’t need water or plumbing but is scientifically healthy and clean…

French toilet - outsideFrench toilet - inside

And a happy punter winds her weary way home…

Happy punter on the way home

Posted in Community, Events, Nature, People. Comments Off on Successful sales at Gordon Road allotments – huge turnout proves its popularity.

Ron Smith’s gardening article with video of a few Japanese Hornets killing 30,000 British bees.

Columnist - Ron SmithBy Ron Smith

I was invited by my good frien,d Mari I’ Anson (the local Finchley Artist), for a coffee morning recently, and I was pleased to see a small tortoiseshell butterfly in her garden which reminded me of the plight of the London butterflies. They have the same problem as the honey bees which is the reduced number of wild plants, especially nettles and thistles on which they lay their eggs and on which the larva feed.

If you can find a spot in your garden where you could plant some of each you will be rewarded with various species visiting them during the summer months. There are loads of nettles now down in Dollis Brook, and now is a good time to collect their seed heads, just make sure that you plant them in a plastic bucket to stop the roots from spreading

We have around a dozen species of butterflies in the area, and I am told that the Small Blue and the Red Admiral have been seen in this area recently. The National Butterfly count will be held in July, and it will be interesting to see the result and the comparison from last year.

Long Lane Pastures (down opposite the Fire Station) had a rare White Letter Hairstreak last year which may come back again to visit the Princeton Elm which was planted to encourage a colony to settle there.

Do make a note in your diary to visit the Butterfly Border there which has a good variety of flowering plants to attract them.

If you are replanting any shrubs do include a Purple Buddleia (The Butterfly Bush) but keep it well pruned to stop it going wild! Look out for a dwarf variety called “ Buzz “

Philadelphus (Mock Orange) var; “Virginal” is a good choice for a scented shrub.

Honeysuckle, Lavender, Summer Jasmine, Verbascum, Rosemary, Lavender, Nicotina, Night Scented Stock, Angels Trumpets, and Evening primrose, will give off their scent at night.

If you have an interest in butterflies, visit the Butterfly House in Golders Hill Park between 2:00pm and 4:00pm.

Footnote for the Honey Bees; As you can see, it is extremely important that you keep a lookout for the Japanese Hornet these pack a huge sting for humans as well.

Posted in Nature. Comments Off on Ron Smith’s gardening article with video of a few Japanese Hornets killing 30,000 British bees.

Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Victoria park is situated in the North part of Ballards Lane near Essex Park. It is a pretty large park as the photographs will show.

Apart from a generous number of tennis courts they also have a public bowling club with two full size greens. In addition there is a large park café with a good choice of food and drink – and they are open from early until dusk.

Before I let the photos do the talking, I will mention that there is a bone of contention from many reisdent that there is only one toilet for the entire park and, should anyone from Barnet Council read this, they can look at our article on the Gordon Road allotments and see how they installed a public toilet without any plumbing and without any sewage outlets, in a perfectly hygienic fashion with this French invention, and in addition, had compost produced for the plants. It is truly amazing. And inexpensive to install!

And now for our photographs.

Photo of Victorial Park, Finchely

Ballards Lane entrance

Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Public Bowls Green

Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Early to dusk Cafe in the park

Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Further into the park

Photo of plaque

Hiroshima memorial plaque below the tree

Photo inside the park

Tennis courts in Victoria Park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Posted in Community, Nature. Comments Off on Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.