Just off the busy A10 which leads out of central London, and near Dalston Kingsland railway station, is a haven of peace and quiet – Dalston Curve Garden. Although I walked past the entrance several times, I’ve never had time to stop and explore until now.
Their website told me that the 10-year-old garden, is a social enterprise relying on a community of volunteers, visitors and supporters. Their primary mission is to offer beautiful green space for everyone to enjoy, in a built-up part of Hackney, where few people have their own gardens.
The entrance to the garden is hard to miss. Firstly, it’s set back from the road and on one wall is the colourful Hackney Peace Carnival Mural completed in 1985 at the height of the cold war. It depicts a group of people marching for peace against ‘the bomb’ and has become an important cultural statement from that era. On the opposite wall were several large pictures of plants.
We waited for a couple of minutes for the brightly coloured entrance door to open (there ae some useful benches to wait), and before we got up and sorted ourselves out, seven people had walked up and gone in. This was obviously a popular place.
It felt as though we’d entered another world. Tall trees provided natural shade and created an almost woodland feel, along with bark chipping paths. There were green shrubs and plants in raised beds as well as a magnificent display of seemingly, slug resistant hostas.
The long spacious garden, with tables and chairs scattered around, led to an area at the bottom with some kind of stage. According to the friendly girl in the café, this area plays host to all manner of community groups before being open to the public at 1pm.
Having read there was a café, we thought we might stop for a coffee, but the tranquil nature and light sunshine, demanded something a little stronger. The café is licensed, and we enjoyed a bottle of wine which was great value at £20. All sales from the café supports the gardens.
There is no charge to use the gardens, and you are free to bring your own refreshments, as during the week, the only food available is cake, although the pizza oven is cranked up at weekends when the gardens are open all day.