The Old English Garden, Battersea Park

On Thursday I went to the unveiling of the Old English Garden in Battersea Park. What a delight! It made me want to move to the country and spend my days making daisy chains and listening to the bees! If you ever read The Secret Garden as a child then this garden would really appeal to you, I’d imagine – it has a gurgling fountain in a pond with huge lilypads, it has bright, wild flowers, and it’s surrounded by an old wall strewn with ivy. The perfect inner-city retreat!

The Old English Garden has been created by Thrive, a UK charity whose mission is to “harness the therapeutic power of gardening” as a way of changing the lives of unemployed disabled people. Trainee gardeners attend the Thrive programme for up to two years after which they can go on to gain a vocational qualification and the skills needed to enter paid employment. The Old English Garden programme has been supported by Jo Malone Limited – and there are more projects to come. Jo Malone want to help people in need to engage with their communities and develop useful skills that could lead them to paid work. They also want to help regenerate green spaces, and they have certainly helped Thrive do a marvellous job with this one!

I was at Battersea Park bright and early on Thursday to hear some of the thoughts of the people who were most involved in the project – it was a little bit like a wedding, with a long table laid out beneath a tunnel of vines and plants. Actually, this would make an amazing spot for a wedding, but I doubt you’d be allowed. And think of the weather stress you’d have… Luckily the rain held off over breakfast, but it had rained loads the night before and then it rained the day after! So perhaps not a great wedding venue after all…

To stick with the “garden” theme, I wore my bright flower-print shirt to breakfast – this one, if you remember, was from Monica & Joe. My face looks a bit puffy, doesn’t it? That’s what happens when I get up before 9am – my whole body goes into a severe state of shock. Hahaha.

You can see more pictures of the Old English Garden and “watch it grow” at the Jo Malone Facebook Page. Or, if you’re in London, go and visit it in real life! Take a book (The Secret Garden) and a bottle of homemade lemonade and lose a few hours…

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Nathalie
    July 9, 2012 / 7:10 am

    OMG! I would actually LIVE in this beautiful garden :D

  2. July 9, 2012 / 7:45 am

    I am so pleased you’ve blogged about this as I remember you tweeting about it recently. I don’t have a garden and I really miss having one as I am a huge fan of green. My best friend very kindly got us a joint membership of the National Trust last month so I’m looking forward to making use of that. I will definitely check this one out though the next time I’m having a mooch on King’s Road in Chelsea, it’s only a wee busride away from there on the 49 : ) xx

    • Ruth
      July 9, 2012 / 7:47 am

      Oh that’s a great gift! x

  3. Katie
    July 9, 2012 / 8:55 am

    I am so happy you’ve posted about this place- I loved the pics you put on Instagram and wanted to know more about the place! Its just like the images The Secret garden conjours up too and was my favourite story as a little girl!

    What a great initiative too!

  4. Sophiabencks
    July 9, 2012 / 10:04 am

    I had my 4th birthday party in that garden!
    I grew up in Battersea, 5 minutes from the park.
    Lovely photos, I’m glad the garden is being looked after!

  5. Michael
    July 9, 2012 / 10:31 am

    I love your blog! It’s introduced me to so many products that I would never have been exposed to otherwise. Lots of the products I’ve picked up from your recommendations have made such a difference to my problem skin so thank you. I am a man though so do you know of any great sites that have a similar mission as yours but run for men’s products? Thanks again!

  6. Joana Richard
    July 9, 2012 / 11:07 am

    Beautiful :)

  7. Jean
    July 9, 2012 / 2:20 pm

    Ooohh. How inspiring! Loved your look on this post!!!

  8. Amanda
    July 9, 2012 / 4:10 pm

    I’m desperately aiming for the English garden look with ours – its such a brilliant cause too!

  9. Erin
    July 9, 2012 / 7:08 pm

    Beautiful! And what a great project for the community.

  10. Calandre
    July 9, 2012 / 7:22 pm

    Um… I live in South London… I should go to visit it
    “in person”!

    • Ruth
      July 10, 2012 / 9:10 pm

      You should! x

  11. July 9, 2012 / 9:37 pm

    This looks so lovely! The simple cut flower centerpieces are great too.

  12. July 9, 2012 / 9:46 pm

    This is so English! I’m totally jealous and wish I could go

  13. liloo/@tsunimee
    July 10, 2012 / 11:35 am

    such pretty pictures. love the sweet touch of the irises on the table.
    liloo/@tsunimee xx

  14. rebecca pearson
    July 11, 2012 / 4:10 pm

    I’m never very jealous of your press trips but THIS – THIS I am jealous of! I love gardens!

  15. July 15, 2012 / 10:03 pm

    Oh I’m so jealous of your cool, green summer! It’s a sweltering drought here in the US:(

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 10:58 pm

      SWAP! x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.