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Bottled blackberries: Fri 22 Aug, 1-4pm

Posted: August 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Grow Heathrow

The highlight of our foraging year.

If Grow Heathrow hasn’t been evicted, we’re going to bottle loads of blackberries. Bring clean empty jars and you will earn respect, win honour and know true righteousness.  It’ll be the tail end but we should get lots of juicy buckets. You can taste some of last year’s (they’re great) and take some of this year’s jars home so you can fish for compliments from your family.

If we have been evicted, we’ll just go and eat blackberries. To be honest it might turn into just eating blackberries either way. See you there!

Pickled elderberries: Fri 18 Jul, 1 – 4

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: | No Comments »


Living in broken rotting greenhouses has its perks.

What plant books flatteringly call ‘wasteland species’ may not have the looks but as we like to say here, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And autumn is coming up, with our Garden of Eden maze of elderberries and blackberries. There’s even a volunteer from abroad staying at Grow Heathrow at the moment who despite getting to know all of us, the site and what we do there has privately admitted she’s now really there for the blackberries; after they finish she might be off to somewhere else.

On Friday 18th July, from 1pm to 4 we’ll be pickling green elderberries. We pickled loads of ripe and less ripe purple elderberries last year but they just weren’t amazing – they taste a lot of vinegar and a little bit of that rich, slightly unpleasant ‘elder smell’ that you get when you crush elder leaves. You can try them if you come round (no need to thank us). But the green ones we pickled got gobbled up with chips as comfort food in the dark winter – crunchier and less strong. So this year we know how to prepare to liven those winter moments when there’s ten men sat around the old wood burning stove and someone brings out a guitar with four strings and delights in another repeat singing ‘Wagon Wheel’. Green pickled elderberries for hot chips (and daal)! (You can also check out the Urban Harvest info on eating elderberries)

If you want to join the party, be there.

Elderflower cordial: Fri 13, 1-3pm

Posted: June 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Elderflowers and red clover

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The field by the old garden centre is full of red clover, and the rotting greenhouse frames are burping up sprays of elderflowers.

We’re gonna make some elderflower cordial. Be there. If you remember, grab a couple of clean empty jars or small glass bottles.

Poisonous carrot cousins and wild hogweed ‘asparagus’: Fri 16 May, 1-4pm

Posted: May 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: , | No Comments »

Foraging at Grow Heathrow

April was a loads of fun; 30 of us came down and learnt how to identify the mustard family (brassicaceae), which has no poisonous plants, as well as the springtime linden (tilia spp.) leaves that are offering massive free salads all over London. We also spent some time considering the risks of foraging, codes of conduct and the law. A big thank you to everyone who came, all inspiringly enthusiastic, and also to our favourite photographer Jonathan Goldberg for these kickass snaps.

Now it’s May, the first few hogweed (heracleum sphondylium) flowers are just beginning to bud. Our site is covered in hogweed, having been derelict and neglected for so long, which means we’re able to steam pots full of dozens of hogweed flower buds every day in summer. Like an abundant wild asparagus, it’s gobbled up. And even if we didn’t live in a sea of it, it’s handy that each plant will live an extra year if all of its flowers are harvested.

But hogweed is part of the carrot family (apiaceae), which contains deadly poisonous species. Many people have heard of one cousin of the carrot, toxic giant hogweed (heracleum mantegazzianum),  for the extreme sunburn rashes it causes when touched. The rashes can become scars that last years, and there’s plenty of giant hogweed growing along Cranford Lane as well as the Grand Union canal west of West Drayton.

We’ll start the workshop off with some very civilised nibbles – hogweed stems with hummus: they’re like a refreshing, slightly citrussy celery. We’ll learn how to tell the difference between toxic giant hogweed and edible common hogweed, as well as how to look for warning signs that wild plants may be in the dangerous carrot family. There’ll be some fun activities in pairs and groups to recap the day as well as handouts to take home. All that brain strain will be rewarded with a hike round the site harvesting, and then steaming the goods.

You’ll need to book in advance to be able to take part as this Month the workshop will have a cap of 12 foragers to be able to move quickly and fit all of our activities in. The suggested donation for the workshop is £8 for people on high or average wages and £3 for low waged and unwaged people. All donations go 100% to Grow Heathrow, paying for bike workshop tools, rice and bog roll. If money’s not ideal, you can donate your time washing up :D

 Book by leaving a comment here with your first name, which should take 10 seconds.  If you don’t have internet access then just let a resident know your name face to face or on the phone. You can also check out our travel info and videos about the site.

I’ve been enjoying a couple of foragers’ web pages a lot recently, Chester-based Eden Wild Food and London-based Ipso-phyto. They’ve got fantastic seasonal photos of local wild food, so check them out if you like the sound of that. They also both offer guided walks and workshops.

Wild and free salads: Fri 18 April, 1-3pm

Posted: March 25th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging | 4 Comments »

Enlace permanente de imagen incrustada

Well hello foragers. 2014 is on us and we’re partying hard with an ID walk and salad making stroll from 1-3pm on Fri 18th April.

This year, if for some embarrassing reason you haven’t heard, weekly Foraging Fridays are mutating into bigger workshops around once a month from February till September. Maybe we’ll go for an appley extravganza in October too, if you’re good.

Salad plants we’ll find:

  • Hoary cress (lepidium draba)
  • Chickweed (stellaria media)
  • Smooth sow thistle (sonchus oleraceus)
  • Cow parsley (anthriscus sylvestris) – and its poisonous almost identical lookalike, hemlock (conium maculatum)
  • Cress, unfairly branded ‘hairy bittercress’ (cardamine hirsuta)
  • nipplewort (lapsana communis)
  • borage (borago officinalis)

blah blah blah. And possible ones nearby:

  • three cornered garlic (allium triquetrum)
  • horseradish (armoracia rusticana)

Bring your party clothes


Posted: March 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Events, Foraging, Gardening Club | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


In addition to our weekly Growing Sunday and Community Workday Thursdays, we now have Workshop Week on the third weekend of every month and week lead up. Come down and join us for:

Foraging Friday (Friday of 3rd weekend of month)

Bike Workshop (Third Saturday of the month)

Introduction to growing workshop (Third Sunday of the month – now fully booked)

See EVENTS page for exact dates and CONTACT page to RSVP

Foraging Friday


Come and find out about what’s growing all around us and how we can use it in our daily lives. Elderflower fritters, spring green salads, scrumping apples….

All ages and experiences welcome!


Please phone Rose or Sam on to RSVP 07890751568

Bike workshop

Bikes in the bikes space

Learning together how to repair and maintain your bikes with tools and friendly support.

All ages and experience welcome



*workshops are donations based




Sat 21 Sep, 1pm: elderberry workshop

Posted: August 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Grow Heathrow is now an edible forest collapsing under the weight of blackberries and elderberries. So, on Saturday 21st September, as part of the Urban Harvest network we’re putting on an elderberry celebration. It can only end one way: in dozens of jars of preserved elderberries.

Taste pickled ripe, slightly ripe and unripe elderberries from Grow Heathrow, pickled Hackney elderberries that have been sweated in salt before being bathed in vinegar, and elderberry and blackberry cordial with a hint of cloves. (If you’re wondering, the elderberry wine’s still fermenting :D)

Bring as many clean empty jars as possible!

Join up on Project Dirt if you like, or just turn up. See you here.

We’re out of jars

Posted: August 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: | No Comments »


If you have any spare clean, empty jars, we’d love to have them.

Over the last two days we’ve bottled six kilos of pickled elderberries and fifty jars of sour blackberry preserve. It’s going to be a luxurious winter, but there’s a lot of harvesting left to go – elderberries, sloes, plums, apples, pears, quinces and guelder rose berries for a start. Let’s get bottling! If you want to get involved, come along to our free wild food workshops every Foraging Friday, 2pm – 5pm. See you here!

Thanks <3

Official ‘Yarrow Yurt’ opening, 29th-30th June

Posted: June 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging, Gardening Club | No Comments »
Putting up a yurt at Grow Heathrow

Please join us for the official ‘Yarrow Yurt’ opening on Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th of June at Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, UB7 0JH.

What we have in store for you:

Saturday 10am – 8pm (drop by anytime)..

  • medicinal herb bed making

  • minor maintenance

  • opening ceremony 7ish (including spirals and sage)

  • traditional mongolian food

  • warm sleeping space available

Sunday 12pm – 2pm..

  • yoga class taught by Jana and Justin 12-1.30

  • traditional mongolian food and dancing

  • join in with our regular growing Sundays slot 2-6

We really hope you can make it, Aimee and Tree. For more information email info@transitionheathrow.com or call 07890751568

Cranford Park, balsam bashing and a secret garden

Posted: May 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Foraging, Gardening Club, Growing Group, Residents | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Cranford Country Park

Cranford Park has loads of brilliant events coming up, from balsam bashing to a bat walk and even an invitation into the secret garden.

This is a reminder that the next Quarterly Meeting of the Friends Group is this Thursday (May 23) at 7.30pm. It will be held at Crane Community Centre, Fuller Way (off Cranford Drive) and all are welcome. Bus E6 passes close by. I hope you will be able to join us to hear the latest about your park and contribute your views. The agenda and previous Minutes were sent to members on May 5.

This Sunday, May 26, the  SECRET GARDEN (next to the Stable Block) will be open from 10-12 noon. Come and see how this is growing, thanks to our volunteers, and maybe lend a hand! There are always jobs to do: no experience is required, tools and refreshments are provided.

More Cranford Park dates for your diary – no booking needed unless stated. Meet at park information centre unless stated.

Sundays May 26, June 23, July 14, August 11, September 8, 10am -12 noon all dates. Friends Group SECRET GARDEN OPENINGS. Come to help with some light gardening or just to have a look at this special place (normally closed to the public) beside the stables. Tools and refreshments provided. Meet in the small walled garden, adjacent to Stable Block. (Friends & Macmillan Cancer Support).

Saturday June 1, 11am. BUTTERFLY WALK. Join the Countryside & Conservation Officer on the park’s ‘butterfly transect route’ identifying a wide variety of species.

Sunday June 9, 10.30am – 1pm. Friends Group with Thames 21 RIVER CRANE BALSAM BASH. Volunteers required! Himalayan balsam is an invasive plant, taking over large swathes of riverbank, yet it’s easy to remove at this time of year. Volunteers will be gathering all along the River Crane and Yeading Brook – help us include Cranford Park in the campaign! Refreshments provided.

Wed. 12 June, 7pm. RIVERSIDE HABITATS & SPECIES. A wildlife walk and talk around the River Crane. Bring wellingtons if you wish to enter the river, nets provided. Please book with Alison Shipley ashipley@hillingdon.gov.uk. Tel. 01895 250647.

Wed. 19 June 8.30pm BAT WALK. Evening twilight stroll looking for bats, using bat detectors. Please book with Alison Shipley (as above).

Sat. June 29, 11am. ‘Knights, Earls & Ghosts’, FREE HISTORY TOUR. Follow in the footsteps of some interesting characters from the past as we show you the park’s historical highlights.

Sun. 14 July, 2pm FORAGING WALK & TALK. Looking for free edible produce our doorstep. Includes cooking tips. With Sam from the Grow Heathrow project.

Sat. 27 July, 10.30am – 1pm. Friends Volunteer session with Thames 21 CLEARING VEGETATION NEAR RIVER BRIDGE. Volunteers wanted to help open up views of this important historical feature. Tools & refreshments provided.