by LAURA SEAR
Londoners have set up a real life secret garden in the very centre of Shoreditch.
Much like in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel for children, you’ll have to go through a door that makes you feel alarmingly uncomfortable.
The narrow graffiti-covered door, between Grimsby Street and Pedley Street, is far from inviting.
Those expecting to see an abandoned land full of shabby allotments and rotting garden sheds will be pleasantly surprised – instead greeted by colourful scenery.
You’ll see children running around, smell succulent grilled chicken and hear the sounds of a jam session in the background.
In 2015, eco-activist James Wheale set up the Nomadic Community Garden organisation and transformed two and a half acres of wasteland into a meeting point for Bohemian Londoners, tourists, up-and-coming artists and dedicated gardeners.
At first, volunteers simply maintained allotments with vegetables, fruit and flowers.
This all changed when the community decided to decorate the allotments with artwork, sculptures and graffiti.
After a while, tourists straying from Brick Lane started to visit the garden and stayed to admire its street art. The site quickly developed into an oasis for artistic Londoners.
The organisation is funded by donations and the site is kept clean and safe by volunteers.
The organisers pay a peppercorn rent to the landowners, so there’s no access to water or electricity. The venue uses solar panels and rain barrels to supply visitors with toilets, music and light.
The Nomadic Garden is now home to the Perle Opera House, a space where music festivals, beatbox jam sessions and campfire jams are organised.
It also has a vegan-friendly food truck, a bike repair shop and a nomad library.
Pop in and take a look for yourself this summer.