The tree’s knees

14 Goodgymers helped their local community in Tower Hamlets
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Tower Hamlets

Monday 6th February 2023

Report written by Laura Williams

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A fantastic team of 14 met in Devons Road this evening, with Ken and Terry from the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Why were we here?

Ken explained that this planting project undertaken by the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is helping to create a green corridor through this area of East London.

What does that mean?

Well, by populating the Lea Valley Green Route (the area from Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, out to Bow Docks and on to the Lea Valley), with bulbs, plants and trees, we’re essentially making more nature available to more residents.

It will allow more wildlife to move between the Lee Valley, and the Lee Valley Park, into the Borough.

Creating ‘stepping stones’ in this way, between green space and urban street spaces, benefits everyone: green spaces that are inhabited by wildlife, trees and plants, not only mean more areas for all residents to enjoy, they can also help to reduce the effects of pollution, often an issue in large cities.

What we were planting

Terry talked us through the mix of trees we were settling into the ground, which included:

Purging Buckthorn (Google that one)

Grey Willow







Wild Privet

Various factors were involved in the choice of the trees, including:

  • Comfort (avoiding too many thorns, so litter-picking isn’t too much of a mission).

  • Butterfly appeal (the Brimstone butterfly seeks out buckthorn on which to lay its eggs).

  • Green-ness (beech and hornbeam tend to hang onto their leaves).

  • …And a general ambition that plenty of berries and flowers will come out at different times with this mix, and attract insects.

Speedy work

Our large team set about this big planting mission, all around the park, following careful, precise instructions from Ken.

Tree after tree was produced for the GoodGymers to expertly settle into their new home.

No sooner had the obligatory pictures been taken, and the final few poorly-lit areas been populated with trees, than Ken called it a wrap.

200 trees in less than an hour! Way. To. Go.

We collected tools, loaded the wheelbarrows, posed for one last group shot, before saying our cheerios for the night.


The big cheers this week go to:

  • Clare, whose first GoodGym event it was! Well done Clare, hope to see you again very soon.

  • Johnny, for saving the location day, and speedily dropping the all-important pin.

  • Kevin, our brilliant head torch technician…

And most of all, to Ken and Terry for three, fabulous Monday nights out in Tower Hamlets.

Next week

...we’re back to Devons Road, for another big gardening task with St Leonard’s Priory Park!

Until then.

Session Leader
This task supported
The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Looking after the nature reserve and heritage site

The Friends are an independent charity responsible for managing Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, a unique and vital nature reserve and heritage site in East London. Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park offers everyone a breathing space in the heart of East London. This woodland cemetery is a unique place of transformation: a people’s cemetery, a place for remembrance, a sanctuary for humans as well as nature, a place for festivals, field studies and forest schools. Always changing with the seasons, it is rooted in the history of the East End, a place of rich heritage that is full of possibilities and freedom for all.

See more
Clare Wood
Jessica L
Gualtiero Uslenghi
Asad Kara
Fiona M
Darren On Sirius
Laura Williams
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Saturday morning session at The Felix Project's Poplar depot
🗓Tomorrow 11:00am

Come and join our Saturday sessions at the Felix Project!

Discuss this report
John Shirley

Tue 7th Feb 2023 at 2:40pm

Well done everyone, sorry to miss it