We are delighted to invite you to our Barnanza! The official opening of Brockwell Barn on Sunday 18th September at 2pm.

Join us for an afternoon of celebration, with live music from the wonderful folk band The Conquering Heroes, botanically inspired drinks, an exhibition of artworks created in the garden, family activities and a chance to tour the barn and gardens.

There will also be tasty hot food straight out of our cob oven! On the menu is jacket potato with BPCG veg and homemade relish. Pre-order your food with your ticket.


This event is free but please book a ticket to help us gauge numbers. And if you would like to give a donation there is an option to pay what you can for tickets. All donations will go towards equipment for the new kitchen and as well as tools, compost and seeds for the learning garden. Everything we need to get growing and cooking in the barn!

The barn is a huge achievement for Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses. It will allow us to make the most of our beautiful garden all year round, for the benefit of our children and family activities, volunteers, workshops and music events. We hope you can make it and celebrate with us!

In the garden this week

This week we will be planting the willow tunnel in the learning garden in front of the Barn. We aim to have the willow tunnel looking rather ‘dragon-like’ once it is completed, with a dragon’s mouth at the Barn end and a spiral tail at the other. However first of all we will need to get the basic structure in place by burying / planting the willow branches (or rods as they are known in willow weaving tradition) into the ground so that they can grow. This kind of willow work is called ‘living willow,’ because it’s alive and should grow over time to become bushy, covering the structure and turning it a leafy green. In order to gain the maximum growth from the willow rods we need to plant them at an oblique angle which encourages them to produce new growth from each leaf node along their length. If instead we were to plant the rods vertically, we would get very little growth from the leaf nodes and strong upward growth from the tip of the rod. This would not result in an attractive green dragon but bare sticks with green tips!

If you look at our potato beds near the bee hives you will notice that all their tops have died down and gone brown. In other words, their growing season is over and as main crop potatoes this is the time to harvest them, between late August and early October. It is worth noting that the potato leaves have not gone brown as a result of the recent hot, dry weather. Proof of this is that when we harvested some Apache potatoes the other week, there were many nice large potatoes, ideal in size for using as baked potatoes. If on the other hand the potato plants had suffered from many weeks of dry weather we would have found that our harvest consisted of many fewer, far smaller potatoes.

As a charity reliant on being able to grow plants, we are exempt from the current hosepipe ban as our water is not used for personal consumption. However, we recognise the huge pressure on our water resources at the moment, and we are doing the best to balance the needs of our garden with those of the environment. We water early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid water loss due to the heat. We use watering cans where possible and drip irrigation in the beds, so the water goes directly to the roots. Every drop counts!

Back to our potatoes, this week we will start to harvest our different varieties. The ‘Salad Blues’ are an unusual potato. When cut in half they expose their blue flesh and the blue pigmentation is more than skin deep – it goes all the way through! Our attractive ‘Apache’ potatoes are reddish pink with cream patches, and our ‘Pink fir apples’ are a pale pink salad potato. So we will have a range of potato varieties on sale in our shop this week.

Continuing the multi coloured theme, we will harvest more of our different tomato varieties, the purple ‘Indigo Cherry Drops’ and ‘Black Russians’, the stripy orange, ‘Tigerellas’, the stripy green and yellow ‘Green Zebras’, the orange ‘Moon Glow’ the yellow ‘Golden Crown,’ and the red ‘First in the Field.’

There will also be more seed collecting, cleaning and saving to do this week.