We’ve always been pretty ambitious at the garden – taking on the building of a pallet shed by (generally inept) hand, growing natural dyes in deeply urban Hackney and putting on a Country Show without ever having done anything like it before and involving more than a hundred veg, preserve and cake entries. The shed lost a bit of its roof in the storms (it blew off and parts of it, we assume, flown to another borough as we can’t find it. It’s leaking badly now and I’ve done the temporary measure of using Blutak to plug a couple of holes) and we have other maintenance problems but we carry on and as it feels like spring, even though it shouldn’t, we’re waking up to the new growing year with new ideas.
We’ve grown small patches of flax over the last two years and even managed to make some string this time last year (see String, to quote Spike Milligan, is a Very Important Thing). This year we’re thinking even bigger and I’ve been delving into our gardening networks to get people to grow a little patch of flax so that we can grow a London garment. We’re doing this in collaboration with Zoe Burt and her project www.seedsoffashion. The college is interested, our Permaculture friends want to get involved and I have the feeling that the idea is going to take off. So if you are reading this, live within the M25 and have a small place or even a pot where you can grow flax, get in touch with Cordwainers or Zoe and have a go! We’ll all come together to process the stalks to turn into fibre in the autumn. We might even have enough for a uniform!