Plant the High Street

Sutton House, Hackney

Plant the High Street was a trail that started at Sutton House and along Homerton High Street to showcase the great greening projects that are making Hackney greener, wilder and healthier.

We worked with Hackney residents, businesses and community groups to green up Homerton high street. On 20 July, we led a trail along the high street to showcase the inspiring greening projects that are taking place.

The event was inspired by 10x Greener – a resident project, supported by Friends of the Earth, which is greening the Daubeney Fields neighbourhood near Hackney Marshes. This event was part of the Mayor of London’s National Park City Festival to celebrate the city’s open spaces and make London greener and wilder.

Homerton High Street Green Trail
Plant the high street trail
Homerton High Street Green Trail

The Trail

Sutton House: The trail began at Sutton House, a tudor mansion in the heart of Hackney. Here you could pick up your free London National Park City map and National Trust tote bag. Hackney Herbal ran a ‘make your own herbal tea bag’ workshop and there was entertainment from a steel pan band. Volunteers were on hand to tell you about the trail route. Members of the public could follow the plant trail down the High Street and find our stop off points by the beautiful flower banners painted by local artist Joy Poupazis.

Core Landscapes: The first stop on the trail was Core Landscapes' new roof garden on top of their hub site. Core Landscapes develops meanwhile spaces to promote positive mental health for all, using pieces of land that are temporarily available to green up for community benefit. It is part of Core Arts - a leading mental health charity using the arts, sports and horticulture to aid recovery from mental illness.

St Barnabas Church: At the front of St Barnabas Church a local couple gave-away mint and watercress plants grown in their garden. In Victorian times, Hackney was famous for its watercress beds which lay behind Sutton House on the ancient Hackney Brook. The brook is now covered over but we handed out postcards of the old beds with home-made watercress seed packs attached. 

Linzell Garden: At the top of Marsh Hill, tenants from the Linzell Estate made a pollution-busting garden by the busy Kenworthy Road junction. They planted a native hedgerow next to the street and have started to trail ivy up railings to create a natural contamination barrier. Behind it, they dug out a bed and introduced cultivated plants like catmint, rockrose and salvia among the wild plants growing there naturally. E5 postcode gardener Kate Poland held a children’s environmental craft session in the garden, making bug hotels out of painted tin cans.

Daubeney Road: A little further down the hill, was a giant sparrow hawk painted by acclaimed street artist ATM on a house on Daubeney Road. ATM painted the mural for 10xGreener – a Friends of the Earth backed project to help residents along Daubeney Road make their street better for nature. At street-level a sign made from a rusted iron sheet welcomes you to this nature-friendly community. ATM painted a sparrow on the sign – an RSPB Red List bird whose population is thankfully now recovering in the area.

La Mela: La Mela hosted a photo exhibition of the 10x Greener project for the day and offered a special menu for 10x Greener. La Mela has recently laid out an al fresco eating area on the street behind a row of planters.There was also an opportunity to donate to the 10x Greener project which has now spread throughout the neighbourhood.

Trehurst Street: At the end of the parade of shops, local people constructed a green wall outside Bobby’s Supermarket on the corner with Trehurst Street. Residents from the street filled wooden planters with plants reclaimed from the Chelsea Flower Show and green-screened a pebbledash wall with climbers growing up a wire trellis. A second wall sign, with a frog painted by ATM, marks another gateway into the 10x Greener neighbourhood.

Eastmead Garden: Eastmead Garden was planted by residents of the Kingsmead Estate with a whole range of plants from ‘Cloth of gold’ to ‘Purple Emperor’.

Westmead Garden: Two projects on the Kingsmead Estate next to Hackney Marsh took part in the Plant the High Street event. The first was a Clean Air Garden Party hosted by local environmental charity ecoActive. The Garden Party took place in the Westmead Community Garden on Kingsmead Way off Marsh Hill. This was an opportunity to meet the gardeners and talk to ecoActive’s environmental educational team about their work.

Key information

Date: Saturday 20 July 2019

Time: 12-4pm

Starting location: Sutton House, 2 & 4 Homerton High St, London E9 6JQ