How did the idea come about?
The greenhouse was originally born of having no remaining space for more houseplants indoors, but it’s really come into its own as a space that challenges us to host events. The supper clubs were a natural first choice – the space lends itself to propping up around the table in good company with a few bottles of wine. I’ve convinced myself that it’s harder to get a hangover when you’re spending the night in such a highly-oxygenated space.
When did you move to Leyton?
We’re coming up to our first year this August and we’re head over heels for Waltham Forest. On our first few explorations of the hood everything just clicked and we knew in our gut that this would be home. Perky Blenders and Host in our immediate area helped seal the deal. You see the same faces daily, actually make eye contact when out for a walk, chat over the fence to a neighbour while watering the garden – it has a real village feel to it while maintaining its authenticity.
Tell us about the greenhouse.
The back garden was a heap of rubble, neck-high weeds, and cracked concrete when we bought the place, but it had promise. I’m such a greenthumb that we prioritised finding a home with outdoor space over one with an additional bedroom. We ordered the greenhouse from SummerGardenBuildings and passed on their assembly services, opting to put it together ourselves – 60 individual panes of glass were delivered to the house and what followed was a serious test of our marriage. But once it was up we loved it immediately.
Where are your go-to places for plants?
When it came to filling it up with green babies, the amazing guys at Lancaster Home & Garden Centre on Wood Street were invaluable. They’re stocked to the rafters with some of the bigger, bulkier plants for gardens and they’ve got a real passion for it. We went in with the basics in mind – one fully sunny side, one shadier side, beds for garden vegetables with clay-like alkaline soil, and shelving for the visually pleasing but not edible plants – and they were so helpful in advising what would work where. For some of the succulents and the other little beauts on the shelves, Edie Rose on Francis Road is my go-to. Jimmy shudders anytime he sees me set off in that direction with my big plant-carrying tote and a certain look in my eye.
What’s been most successful so far?
The cucumbers, but everything has different growing seasons so we’ve got our fingers crossed for another big pea crop, and the peppers are looking better by the day. We went on holiday recently and had given up on the cucumbers and planned to pull it up and try again when we got back. It must have heard us bad-talking it, because we came home a week and a half later to eight hulking cucumbers, and we’re getting about three more a week now. Jimmy’s started pickling them since we couldn’t eat them quickly enough, so watch out for a pickle-themed supperclub in autumn.
What’s the upkeep?
To keep the greenhouse alive and thriving, we’re out there every night for at least 20 minutes to water everything and do the little bits of daily plant-love. Every other weekend or so, we have to do more intensive weeding and pruning. Most weeknights we eat out there, and almost every weekend we have friends or family over for a greenhouse meal and hang. In winter, we pop a space heater in there and it’s equally dreamy and cosy, so we’re hoping to extend supperclub season at least into late autumn this year. It’s become the little green heartbeat of our home.
Where did you source the furniture and decorations?
I’ve known since birth that I needed a rattan peacock chair, and found it in a set with a matching cobra chair and side table on Vinterior – the absolute best resource for affordable vintage. The cushions are from Tiger, bought on a whim on a lunch break. Sometimes I splurge for the special bits, like art. After drooling over Stengun Drawings’ work in local shops this past year we finally bought some prints at her pop-up show at Perky Blenders. The big botanical print is a piece of Cavallini & Co wrapping paper – they’ve got a whole series of botanical and vintage posters/wrapping paper that give off serious old-timey explorer vibes. And Venner on Francis Road has some beautiful prints by local artists too.
When did the supper clubs start?
Earlier this summer, on the urging of our dear friend Sarah Miller (@oenophoodie). She has experience in setting up and throwing supper clubs but we’ve never done anything quite like this before and couldn’t imagine a more dreamy partner in getting it off the ground. She’s incredibly inspired in her recipes, a natural wine expert, and whips up a drool-worthy gourmet feast while dancing barefoot in the kitchen, so she’s made the process a real joy. We’ve done a few so far, the first were mainly attended by friends so we could work out any kinks and get the flow down.
Tell us about the food.
We’d like for each menu to pair with the fruit and veg of the seasons to fit with the greenhouse environment. For the food, we source from local suppliers and markets, extending into Hackney, so Broadway Market for produce, Fin & Flounder, Ginger Pig, and the like. The cost is around £40 per person, varying slightly depending on our collaborating chef. The supperclubs are BYOB, but we have a complimentary “drink on arrival” and we’ll give a guide as to what will pair well with a meal beforehand so people can do some informed buying. Gnarley Vines on Hoe Street has an excellent selection of natural wines and Yardarm on Francis Road too, those have been our go-to bottle shops to date so we try to recommend picks from them so people can grab something en route.
When’s the next one?
Saturday 18th August – we’re just about to get the word out via the Insta with a link to sign up. Sarah’s the culinary mastermind and her plan for the menu is a play on all things green and gardeny, and this time will likely have a seafood angle to keep us cool given the lovely warmth we’ve had. We’re planning to have a few other chefs collaborate on upcoming ones as well. The idea is to be a space for any kind of creative collaboration – there’s a macramé workshop in the works and a ‘make your own botanical infused gin’ event with our friends at The Last Tuesday Society in Hackney. Hopefully we manage to convince a fair amount of people to sit in a little glass box in our garden for a day.