Dalston garden reopens as Covid restrictions ease

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.

The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden has reopened in time for spring. - Credit: Sandra Keating

A Dalston community garden has reopened in time for spring after a year of being closed to the public.

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden on Dalston Lane has been open for a week after closing its doors in March 2020 due to coronavirus.

Some restrictions are still in place, but people can now meet there one on one, or in a household group, and grab a take-away drink at the garden’s on-site café.

Marie Murray, who set up the garden 10 years ago, said: “We are really delighted to be able to open up again, delighted to be able to share this green space and have become much more mindful of the importance of green spaces, outdoor spaces and places where people can connect with each other.”

Due to coronavirus restrictions the garden is much more limited in terms of its opening hours and how many people can visit at any one time, but Marie is excited to share the space once again with the public.

Dalston Eastern Curve garden flowers.

The garden has been closed to the public since March last year when the first coronavirus lockdown was implemented. - Credit: Alex Bogdan

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“This time last year we were told we had to close and it was really upsetting for us," she said. 

“We put so much work into planting a lot of bulbs in the autumn so they would flower in the spring, so the garden was really full of that spring promise but, because we had to close last year, none of the public saw that.”

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Marie added: “So this year it’s all about people coming in and enjoying them.”

Despite being closed to the public, the garden has hosted small support groups of 15 people, exempt from restrictions, which include older people and a group of “lockdown mums”, who all gave birth during lockdown.

Marie says support sessions and the “whole of last year has given us food for thought about what we can do with what we have got here”.

Flowers in Dalston Curve garden

The Dalston garden is still subject to coronavirus restrictions which limit its opening hours, how many people can visit at one time as well as the size and type of groups which can meet there. - Credit: Alex Bogdan

The groups, which Marie calls recovery community groups, continue to meet on weekday mornings before the garden is open to the public. Future plans will see the creation of a slightly less public part of the garden to offer a safe gathering space.

From now until mid April it will be open every Tuesday-Friday from 2-6pm for people to "stroll among the spring flowers", sit with a friend or within a household group. 

Groups of six can meet together after March 29, as per the government roadmap. 

Find out more at www.dalstongarden.org

Flowers in a Dalston garden.

Despite the pandemic Marie says the time has been "fruitful" especially as the garden has hosted small exempt community support groups. - Credit: Alex Bogdan

Dalston Curve garden flowers.

The recovery groups meet on weekdays before the garden is open to the public. - Credit: Alex Bogdan

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