Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
The presence of some Spring -like sunshine and the sighting of snowdrops and daffodils on our walk to work of a morning has got us all excited. Whilst the start of the year was a lovely time to relax and curl up on the sofa away from the elements, the 1st March has given us a well-needed spring in our step. So, if you are feeling the same, why not check out our latest Outside Edge for some fun and inspiring things to do this month.
Etsy UK pop-up at west elm London
The first Etsy UK pop-up shop at west elm London will take place on Thursday 6th March at the store on Tottenham Court Road. Curated by Arianna Trapani and Carole King from Heart Home magazine, the pop-up shop will bring together 13 local London Etsy sellers in west elm’s first UK store. The Etsy sellers have been hand-picked by HeartHome editors Ari and Carole, and include Baskakova Ceramics, rachellovesbob Jewellery, RebeccaKiffGallery and NEONLDN.
Etsy pop-up at west elm, London – Thursday 6th March between 1pm and 8pm
Fashion and Gardens at The Garden Museum
Fashion & Gardens is the first exhibition to explore the relationship between fashion and garden design, from the age of Queen Elizabeth I to the catwalks of London Fashion Week 2014. The exhibition, curated by writer, historian and Garden Museum Trustee Nicola Shulman, will identify and celebrate the many links and correspondences between gardening and fashion design. The connection has existed for centuries, but this exhibition is the first attempt to make it articulate.
Visit www.gardenmuseum.org.uk or call 020 7401 8865
Image: The Royal Horticultural Society
Morning Glory, Oval Space
Fancy raving your way into the day? Morning Glory is an exercise class that has clubbing and dance at the heart of it. The organizers state that dancing is the ultimate exercise, and the class encourages free improvised dancing to wake up your body, mind and creativity and leave you feeling more energized and alive than you could ever imagine.
The next event takes place on Wednesday 26th March at The Oval Space from 6.30am to 10.30am.
Visit www.morningglorylondon.co.uk for details and booking.
Pop Up Gin Palace
Peters & Co have opened a Gin Palace at F. Cooke’s Pie and Mash Shop in Broadway Market. Open every Thurs, Fri and Saturday from 7pm until late through to July 2014.
Peters & Co. invite gin lovers to discover 30 of their finest gins, cocktails, local craft beer, English wine and homemade seasonal & medicinal cordials. There is also a choice of food boards featuring award winning local cheeses, British charcuterie, fancy Peters & Co. Gin & Juniper home-smoked salmon, and puddings.
Gin lovers rejoice!
F. Cooke, 9 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH
The House Gardener
The brand new book from myself, Isabelle Palmer out on the 31st March. House gardening inspiration. More details to follow in my next blog.
Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
A project that is causing quite a stir around our capital city at the moment is the Underground Farm.
Headed up by Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, the two West Country entrepreneurs have teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr to create a working farm in an extensive tunnel network beneath London’s Northern Line.
The subterranean farm, which will start trading later this year, will produce a range of micro-herbs, shoots, miniature vegetables and other delicacies that will be sold to restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. The underground tunnels will provide 2.5 acres of growing space beneath the Northern Line near Clapham North tube station.
To finance the project a crowdfunding campaign has been launched, giving investors of all sizes the chance to buy a stake in the project from as little as £10.
Specially designed structures to house the growing platforms are currently being constructed, whilst growing trials have been conducted over the last 18 months in the tunnels and are still underway.
The farm will be carbon neutral. Special low energy LED bulbs and an integrated hydroponics system are used, and any energy needs will be extracted from green suppliers. The proximity of the tunnels to New Covent Garden market and London’s many restaurants will keep food miles to a minimum, and special filters keep the air in the tunnels free of pests, will also eliminate the need for pesticides.
Full scale work on the farm will commence in March and the first ‘Growing Underground’ produce will hit restaurants and shops by late summer this year. Initial crops will include a range of exotic herbs and shoots, including Pea Shoots, Rocket, Red Amaranth, Mizuna, Broccoli, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel, Mustard Leaf, Radish, Coriander and Thai Basil. Edible flowers and miniature vegetables will also be grown. Stage two crops will include heritage tomato
varieties, and mushrooms.
We cannot wait to try the produce!
The crowdfunding campaign, complete with a video that shows the tunnels, is at http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/zero-carbon-food-13724
Sunday, February 9th, 2014
For Valentine’s Day this year, why not buy your loved one something beautiful for their garden, or even replace the traditional floral bouquet with a stunning bespoke window box or terrarium to keep the romance alive throughout the spring and summer months.
Here at The Balcony Gardener we specialize in the creation of stunning plant and garden displays. Choose from a number of quaint, eye-catching products for the home and garden, or for something truly spectacular, surprise them with one of our beautiful window boxes available in a number of styles.
We have handpicked some of our favourite Valentine’s gift ideas.
Neon Pink Bird House £19.95
X Three Watering Can £45
Tree Birds Candle Stand £19
Springtime Scented Bloom Terrarium £160
English Country Garden Window Box £95
All of these products and more inspirational gift ideas can be found at www.thebalconygardener.com
Happy Valentine’s x
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Fantastic feature on hip house plants in Sunday Times Style with a nice mention of Isabelle’s new book The House Gardener, out in March this year.
Friday, October 4th, 2013
We’re always keen to here about community green and environmental schemes, so we were particularly pleased to find out about a local programme taking place on our doorstep here in North West London. An aspiring group of North West London residents came together last July to launch a community run vegetable bag scheme. The lovely named Field to Fork Organics is a well thought out co-operative delivering bags of seasonal organice produce to different cafes, schools and independent shops across the areas and then the customers can pick them up on Thursdays. The bags start at £8.50 for small bag of delicious vegetables.
In less than three months, Field to Fork Organics has gone from strength to strenght and established a network of ten pick-up points located in Queen’s Park, Kensal Rise, Kensal Green, Willesden Green, Cricklewood, West Hampstead and Kilburn. The North London Tavern in Kilburn is the latest addition to the pick-up network. It will operate as a pick-up point starting on October 10th.
Field to Fork has also become last month a Soil Association certified food business. The vegetables come from selected small organic farms close to London. We spoke with one of the founding members Natasha Harris who put across their message clearly, “We are very keen on working directly with farmers”. Natasha, a project manager who works in the environmental sector, firmly believes that the existing food chain needs to be cut down to the minimum, in order to improve food quality. It is a conviction shared by all the founding members of this new vegetable bag scheme.
The vegetables that Field to Fork Organics customers find in their bags every week come mainly from Westmill Organics in Oxforshire. Pete Richardson, the founder of Westmill Organics, has been growing organic vegetable for over 16 years and has won numerous awards for quality, taste and service. For Ian Kriss, another founding member of the community-run vegetable bag, meeting Pete was a very important step in the creation of the co-operative. “I met him at the Real Farming conference in Oxford last January and I returned to London with a head full of possibilities”, says Ian, an entrepreneur who enjoys growing vegetables with his children.
Field to Fork Organics is also one of four food street businesses which have received the backing of the Mayor of London. The co-operative is part of a six-month food pilot project designed by Boris Johnson’s food adviser, Rosie Boycott, to regenerate the high-street and encourage healthy eating.
To find out more about Field to Fork Organics, you can visit our website: www.fieldtoforkorganics.coop