Does Dalston have another side to it’s typical night-life reputation?
Dalston is one of East London’s most popular areas to go out, with it’s crazy street art, quirky cafés and numerous vintage shops and nightclubs. It wasn’t until we discovered this magnificent garden of serenity and tranquillity that we realised that Dalston has another side to it, a much more peaceful and spiritual place in contrast to it’s other counterparts. It’s the perfect hangout spot for this summer to enjoy a cold beer or for a creamy coffee. We spoke to Brian Cummings, the owner and founder of this little piece of heaven.
What was the whole idea behind this place and it’s theme?
Brian: There was a lot of people involved with it. The idea was that it was going to be a meanwhile space using the derelict land for a green space. We decided it would be best if it was a public, green open-space, so anyone could come and just enjoy it. It’s free for everyone to come in, we do community events, children’s workshops and we have a café. We’ve been here for 6 years, we are still uncertain of the future as the shopping centre owns most of the land and they might want to re-develop. The garden is an important part of Dalston now and it should be retained and enhanced.
Do you think it’s like a symbol of Dalston?
Brian: A lot of Dalston now is known for it’s street art and nightlife, we want it to be something else that would compliment that. We want this space to be a place where everyone can come to. One of our target audiences is children, so we do a lot of work with children. The garden at the bottom is a natural play area, we want to enhance it even more. Once the weather changes, we’ll be open late in the evening, we have a bar and we’re starting our music evenings again at the beginning of June right through the summer every Tuesday. It’s multi-purpose and multi-functional
Have you got any new events coming up?
Brian: We always have our volunteering every Saturday afternoon. We are also doing something for the Dalston’s children’s festival at the end of May. We are also doing some stuff for the Chelsea Fringe, which is like an alternative garden festival. Also food festivals this summer, community events.
How did you design it all?
Brian: It was laid out by a landscape designer called Jo Gibbins. We’ve done a lot of adjustments since then. We built the greenhouse here in 2012. A lot of people were involved. It was a part of a project called “making space in Dalston” in 2007/2008 Small things that are hidden away. There’s lots happening here, you just need to dig a little deeper. Originally it was intended just to be here for 2 years. We have given up our life to keep it going and maintaining it. I have to do a lot of my stuff on my own to keep the cost down.
For more information on events or to sign up to become a volunteer at this pretty palace, go to www.dalstongarden.org