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Cultivate London would like you to be their Friend

By Bridget Osborne

Cultivate London would like you to be their Friend 4 July 2017

Cocktails and canapes in the Salopian Garden

What nicer way to spend a summer’s evening than consuming cocktails and canapes at the Salopian Garden in Isleworth. Owned by the National Trust and run by Cultivate London, the garden is a recently restored community and training space.

Cultivate London is an innovative social enterprise which trains unemployed young people in landscaping and horticulture, and works to engage west London in growing our own food.

The history of the Salopian Garden itself is interesting as it is named after the popular 18th century drink made from orchid roots which used to be served when the site was a carriage staging post along the London Road. The last private owner of the house, Miss June Temple, died in 2004 and left her property – a small cottage and the large garden – to the National Trust. After several years of neglect, during which the once-beautiful garden became overgrown, the NT leased the garden to local charity Cultivate London which has lovingly transformed it, creating vegetable beds, an avenue of heritage fruit trees, a herb garden, raised beds, a wildflower meadow, bee hives and a polytunnel for tender fruit and veg.

The garden’s gorgeous, but the evening I went there my attention was taken by the scrumptious nibbles constantly on offer from the chef at the Michelin starred Chiswick restaurant La Trompette and his staff, made in situ from freshly picked ingredients from the garden.

We were invited to become Friends of Cultivate London. As well as the warm rosy glow which comes from the knowledge that you are supporting schools programmes, work experience placements and apprenticeships all encouraging young people to understand the whys and wherefores of wholesome good food, there are more tangible incentives to becoming a Friend. Those who donate more than £150 will receive tickets to Cultivate London’s Annual Celebration, with VIP Cocktails, a Harvest Hamper, Cultivate London Honey, a beautiful Christmas Wreath, Handmade Bird Box, vegetable plants for your garden in autumn and spring, spring bulbs and Salopian Garden produce worth £200 all in.

As the old saying goes, Strangers are just Friends waiting to happen!