plant potatoes

potato-plantLow maintenance and giving a yield. We usually have a few potatoes laying around the house, which are starting to sprout and would go into our bins. But, we can make some use of it and put them into our window boxes.

It’s just the right time of year.

Put a whole potatoe into the earth and watch it grow into a green leafy plant. Later in the year this will develop white flowers and some small round fruits.


You can let the leaves hang over the balcony or window box. Just make sure you water regularly, especially when it gets hot in the summer.

It is very inexpensive and exciting for children, and adults alike, to watch the growing cycle and being able to eat the produce.

It also makes our window boxes green and pleasant.


I have to make a mention of the role of the TRA on the estate. Generally they run the Glasshouse. Previously the Miller family primarily ran the Glasshouse and as their business is related to hosting parties, of course the venue was used for many parties with loud amplified music.

A lot of locals liked the venue, I know of marriages, birthdays and all kinds of very happy celebrations taking part. The Millers are expert party hosts but unfortunately, the nature of the Glasshouse is that it is not sound-proof. Ray Miller has his own party company and you can still hire them, look up Ray’s parties, (so I believe) for parties at venues of your choice. Other local locations, which are more sound-proof, are the Tramshed or Cranbrook.

So the Millers left the venue and now we have another TRA. Though, I doubt that TRA is the correct expression, as there are no tenants involved any longer. The current (T)RA is mainly occupied with planting wild flowers, fruit bushes and trees and getting a beehive on one of the roofs. they work a lot togther with Hackney City Farm and increasingly Extinction Rebellion.

The farm is a great and much-loved asset to the area. I started a gardening project on this estate but the garden venue is very small and only very few people get the pleasure of using it, it is not widely appreciated. I just enjoy gardening my balcony and flower box. I do a little maintenance of plants around my flat, but think that landscape gardening should do the bulk of the work. I’ll do my best to post gardening tips for the flower pot gardener here.

A recent email received shows that the (T)RA are very much aware of problems caused by trees too near to buildings but they have done nothing to even complain about any structural issues on the estate. Problems caused by traffic were addressed by me through the Neighbourhood Watch connections. I had gates installed to stop fast bikers racing through the estate especially in mornings and mid-afternoon.

I left the committee of the (T)RA because I do not think it is efficient.

The Glasshouse is an important venue and dearly loved and must stay available for people to use. It started off as a laundry venue for the tenants when the estate was first built.

But, at the moment, the Glasshouse is occupied by a company at the ground-floor, who pay rent to the TRA and then Extinction Rebellion have it quite a lot. The sewing group, helps Extinction Rebellion sew props for their demos and they also meet there regularly.

I think that ordinary people who just want to hold social gathering without any political aim should also be allowed to use the Glasshouse. People just want to use the venue for occasions like birthdays, baby showers, other celebrations.  Some clubs also want to use it to provide sports like boxing, dancing etc. Unfortunately I was not able to have enough impact on this, as a member of the committee last year, so I have decided not to be part of the committee any longer.

The increasing use of Extinction Rebellion of the venue was introduced gradually and not many noticed it, they only now advertise themselves as friends of the Glasshouse and advertise the venue for meetings. The (T)RA also advertise climate talk meetings at the Glasshouse, which are in fact hosted by XR.

I think that a TRA, meaning Tenants and Residents Association truly needs to represent all tenants and residents and take up all issues on the estate. Any climate issues, must be addressed by individual change in behaviour and general governmental regulations. In practical terms our estate is mainly powerd by electricity and gas central heating. Perhaps and hopefully at some point that gas central heating will be replaced with more environmentally friendly options.

But, planting a few raspberry bushes and fruit trees, hardly makes up sustainability. It is more work than yield and you can get them easier in the local supermarkets. For the average working person, urban gardening is not the main focus.

If people want me to take up the issue of wanting to use the Glasshouse and they find, they cannot get enough support through the councillors, please get in touch. I have been dealing with issues on the estate since many years. The playground behind Mark House, I supported because when I saw young people climbing up the drain pipes and playing on rubbish chutes, I thought the playground improved the lives of younger people and their families.  Traffic is a big issue also and parking.

So, get in touch if you have issues that you feel cannot get addressed otherwise. I am politically neutral.

Shocking landscape maintenance

I have made a formal complaint to Tower Hamlets Council about the issues of tree planting, tree growth, plant maintenance and the prospective bee hive.

Rosebery House is part of the estate falling under a preservation area. It is a relatively low building and nested in between the higher buildings towards the park near the Regents Canal and Sankey House.

Rosebery House had been planned as a block of flats, surrounded by rose bushes. Parcels of land were left around the building for the rose bushes.

Less and less of the rose bushes are still in place or being maintained.

Over the years of my presence on this estate, I had reasons – severeal times – to complain about trees being allowed to grow too near the actual walls of the building.

Then I was told that the actual landscape gardeners have no power to remove tree saplings as they have a special tree department to deal with this.

Unfortunately too many trees are allowed to grow too near to the walls of the building. Subsidence is a definite danger. As our summers become dryer, the deep-rooted large bushes and short-cut trees, especially around the back of Rosebery House, may cause permanent damage to the building.

I understand that it is the land-owner who is responsible for this and that is Tower Hamlets Council.

The Rights of Light Act 1959 states that if a property has received daylight for the last 20 years (the minimum prescribed period), they may be entitled to continue to receive that light. We have a tree –  large shrub growing very near the walls of the house. Despite having complained about this around 10 years ago, when it was cut down, it is now again allowed to grow. The tree takes away all light from 2 ground floor flats. It is now 3 meters high and restricts access to the rubbish chute and hangs down. This can also be dealth with under the Anti-social behaviour act that this tree is allowed to do this.

In that context, the occupants of the flats, which had recently fruit trees planted in front of them will soon realise that those fruit trees will diminish day-light influx severely. I would encourage the residents to complain about those fruit trees being planted right in front of their flats. The fruit trees were planted by the Residents Assocation with permission from Tower Hamlets Homes. Yet the land-owner, Tower Hamlets Council is responsible and liable for any damage caused by trees on the estate.

Roesbery-16There are a number of trees around the base of Rosebery House with substantive stems and large roots, they should not be so near to the house. Yet the landscape gardeners keep on trimming them whilst the roots grow larger and also the stems as it is evident.

This space was originally intended as roses area but the roses have gone and trees grown instead.

Further around the house, there are more and more large shrubs and trees allowed to grow, which could cause substantive damage in dry summers as they may cause subsidance.

It seems insufficient that the gardeners allow trees to establish around Rosebery House and merely trim them to a smaller size, so they appear bushy instead of not allowing them to grow at all.

We all love trees and need them but they should not grow too near to houses.


anti-pollution initiative

Today is a day of Global Climate Strike. We all need clean air and there is now a new initiative that enables everybody to take part in a huge process, which will contact all of our Members of Parliament and hand a petition to government with the aim of reducing air pollution.

If you visit the website, you can input your postcode, select your exact address and get a reading of air quality in your neighbourhood. You then get the option to take part in a petition, also involving Tower Hamlets Council to reduce air pollution in our area.


Find out what your addresses’ air quality rating is and have the option to demand action.

As you can see from the sample picture above, Sewardstone Road, right next to Gatehouse School, had a rating of 3, which exceeds the annual legal limit and one can then press the button Demand Action, to get to a petition page. This rating of 3, is despite being located next to a park and having a medium tree cover in the area, it is just due to the constant through traffic. Our estate is surrounded by busy roads.

I think that is a good idea for our estate residents to take part in. If your browser doesn’t immediately throw up the result, try refreshing the page, it did the trick for me.

What we could demand for Parkview roads are vertical moss walls or even just planting house walls with climbing plants, which reduce pollution considerably.

Residents meeting

Yesterday’s residents meeting was very well attended and I would like to thank all those who contributed to the discussion. Councillor Sirajul Islam also came and enriched the meeting, which was very well led by our chair Cathrine Powell.

People are invited to participate in groups around

  • cycle storage
  • gardening

There is a particular green conscience with residents suggesting a green belt with fruit trees and shrubs. Any bare spots on the estate can be planted up, please get in touch.

There are still problems remaining from the botched Mayor Works program, please contact our Residents Association with your comments about this.

Recycling rates should be increased and more efforts need to be made to put the correct items into the recycling bins.

Support was pledged to keep Raine’s Foundation school open.

Please also see our ASB page for advice on how to report problems.

Please go to our contact page to get in touch if interested. You may also request addition to the Residents Association mailing list.