Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is a vitally needed public green space in the heart of one of the most built-up areas of London. It is a free-to-enter neighbourhood garden that is open seven days a week, twelve months a year, providing an oasis of plants, connection to nature in the city and a community gathering place for the people of this dynamic part of Hackney.
Deeply embedded into our community, the Garden provides numerous social, economic, environmental and health benefits to all sections of our local population. Extensive volunteering involvement and a year round programme of activities help to break down barriers to engagement in our community, to combat social isolation and to bring residents and neighbours together.
The need for green space in Dalston
Hackney is the third most densely populated borough in the capital and Dalston is one of its most populated wards, with the majority of people living in flats where few have access to their own garden.
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden was created in 2010 on the old Eastern Curve railway line. It emerged from a flagship partnership project ‘Making Space in Dalston’, commissioned by Design for London, which brought Hackney Council and local residents and groups together with muf architect/art and J&L Gibbons Landscape Architects to explore ways to address Dalston’s deficiency in quality public space.
Our beautiful wooden pavilion was constructed by the architectural collective Exyzt and houses our cafe kiosk, comfortable seating and our pizza oven. The Pineapple House is our conservatory style greenhouse which is used for workshops and for keeping cosy by the wood-burning stove in winter.
How we are managed and funded
Since 2012 the Garden has been managed as a social enterprise. Our social mission? Offering beautiful green space for everyone to enjoy all year round in a built up area so lacking in greenery and space. Our enterprise? Our cafe, where we sell hot drinks, cakes, daily home-made soup and bread, and wine and beers. All of the proceeds from the cafe pay for the operation of the Garden and for our year-round education programme and community events. A team of employees supported by many hard-working volunteers care for the plants and the people at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.
Planting in the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
The Garden was planted in 2010 with wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs, including hazel, hawthorn and birch alongside butterfly bushes, bracken and other plants that were already growing on the derelict site and six large raised beds were installed for growing food. Since then, many more raised planters have been added for growing herbs and vegetables, and more and more flowers and plants to support bees, butterflies and wildlife have been planted in every available corner.