Palm House Updates:

17 November 2020

Thank you Saturday Plant Sale patrons!

Plant sales have raised enough money to pay for materials to create a new partition at the end of the cactus room. The old one was plasterboard and had totally perished collapsing after years of absorbing water.


A new viewing window!

Charles (volunteer) has recycled double glazed panes of glass that were being dumped and put them into a framework so visitors can see beyond the cacti into the next room.

There’s always something new happening at Wolves Lane!



Beautiful blooms from 2020!

Visitors will now be able to be view the beauty of the Desert House in the future when Wolves Lane can reopen after lockdown ends!


More beautiful blooms from 2020!


June 5, 2020

Bougainvilleia flowering in the Palm House!

Summer’s coming! There are lots of exciting things growing at Wolves Lane – including bougainvilleia!


Wish you were all here to see our bougainvilleia flowering in the Palm House!  – for the first time since the Beast from the East nearly destroyed it (purple flowers on trellis to left of pic).
This Saturday we have a few geraniums that are the great grand-daughters of the one in this picture (at bottom of pic above).


Remember: Open Sundays will return just as soon as possible!

Watch this blog to find out when!

Wolves Lane is still closed indefinitely, but it’s looking beautiful! It’s all waiting for you when the lockdown is lifted.


May 3, 2020:

Clivias in the Palm House!

Palm House Update

Although mass volunteering has had to stop during the pandemic, a skeleton crew of three has been keeping things going in the palm house and outdoor areas at Wolves Lane.


Wolves Lane bean crop

New Crops!

Since we can’t have visitors, we’re focusing a bit more on food this year.
We have a fine crop of broad beans coming along by the barn, currant bushes in flower by the cemetery gate and we’re beginning to plant salad leaves, spinach and herbs in between them.


Orange tree in flower!

The orange tree in the palm house has flowered, with pea-sized fruits already visible.

We’ve also been enjoying the tasty Cape gooseberries which ripened in late March.
We’ll take cuttings of this plant to grow more, both for the site and for sale – although named because it comes from South Africa, it seems remarkably hardy and we’ve heard it can be grown outdoors in sheltered places.
The new grape vines we planted in the palm house are also doing well, as are the clivia lilies which took two years to mature.
We’ll also pot up some rooted cuttings of jasmine – the scented white flowers have been delightful the last few weeks.


Scented jasmine in the Palm House

Another success has been the pink Brazilian morning glories – we saved seed from last year and they’ve come up in huge numbers.

NEW – Saturday Mornings 10.30am to 1pm only
Plants for Sale by the Wolves Lane gate!
We are missing the public on Sundays – both for their appreciation and stories, and for the little contributions people make to funds.
From 9th May – we’ll set up a table with an ‘honesty box’ at the gate where we can offer potted morning glories and whatever other plants we can rustle up for sale,
just on Saturday from about 11am to 1:30pm.
Do drop by and see if there’s something you fancy for your garden or your window sill.
Credits to Nadya for the photos!
— Anne Gray

Wolves Lane Palm House Crew

Remember: regular Open Sundays will return just as soon as possible!

Watch this blog to find out when!


March 17, 2020:

Wolves Lane regrets that due to the coronavirus pandemic,

the Centre will be closed until further notice.

Volunteering, Open Sundays and all regular events will be postponed indefinitely.

Wolves Lane looks forward to welcoming you back as soon as it is possible.

Follow this blog for updates.

Take care and stay safe.

All the best from,

The Friends of Wolves Lane



February 8, 2020:

Oranges spotted in the Palm House!

A special treat

Volunteers at Wolves Lane shared a special treat this week (during the week of December 13, 2019) – a ripe orange grown in the palm house!
We also now have three baby grape vines and a potted fig tree too. And the avocado which a volunteer grew from a pip last summer is now around a metre high.

Lantana bushes coming soon!

Things are progressing in the palm house – we have now learned how to take cuttings of our beautiful lantana bushes and there are two by my attic window growing fast and waiting to come back in the spring. Last September we even sold a couple.

Strelitzia Planning

We’d love some advice on propagating strelitzia too, since the clumps are getting bigger and bigger and we would like to share them.

Plans for Exotic Fruits – shout out for avocado-growing experts!

We want to put some exotic fruits into the palm house so if you are good at growing avocados from seed, we’d love a couple more to join the 2 year old one now 4 feet high (as of today February 8, 2020) and its little sisters just planted out in January.

Request – for donations of fruiting passiflora plants

Also does anyone have any fruiting passiflora plants – or cuttings we could try to root? They are gorgeous both for flowers and fruit.

Donations of plants to sell on Sundays to raise funds most welcome!

We look forward to working with Friends on the Sunday public opening rotas as well, and offers of plants to sell to visitors for the funds would be most welcome.

— Anne Gray

Wolves Lane Palm House Crew


December 8, 2019: 

Late Night Views of the Palm House


November 2019:

New blooms

The yucca in the palm house is in flower in the Palm House in November 2019!

Preparations for Winter 2019

The Palm House Crew have been hard at work and have bubble wrapped the palm house and got some greenhouse heaters.



September 2019:

New views in the Palm House

Palm house update September 2019

The palm house is resplendent with late summer glory now!

Do drop by one Sunday soon, especially our…

Community Market day on 15 SeptemberPlants for sale!

We’ve rooted lots of cuttings this year so you can buy a bit of the palm house to take home with you – amongst our plant stock for sale we now have some baby purple hearts, lantana, scented white jasmine, philodendrons, papyrus and polka dot plants.

Caring for your new plants

All of these are perennials which can be kept outdoors in a warm place till the end of the month – after that, take them in to your lounge, kitchen or conservatory till next spring. (Jasmine is ok all year outdoors if you have a south – ish facing wall or fence, though it dies back less in winter if you take it in). We also planted last year’s seed from the carmine morning glories, which have come up nicely and hopefully will open their flower buds before autumn descends.

Plant sale proceeds

Proceeds of our volunteer team’s plant sales all go towards site maintenance and improvements.

What’s new in the Palm House 2019

The Dutchman’s Pipe plant grew amazingly this year, and its spectacular 7 inch red saucers reach to the roof.Our avocado sapling, grown by a volunteer from a pip in 2018, is now over a metre high. If anyone’s good at growing avocado stones, we’d love another! With a mate to cross-pollinate, it could produce the first local organic avocados in about 5-7 years.

Rain forest development

We recently did a lot of work towards restoring the rain forest room with the help of some volunteers from the Argos Store in Wood Green, who gave generously of their own and their company’s time on Tuesdays in June and July.

A school resource – what would you like to see?

We want to make this again a resource for school parties to visit and study, so we’d love to hear from teachers, parents and former students who remember it from years gone by, and discuss what kinds of plants and exhibition material they would like to see.

We would welcome the help of local schools and the community to restore this wonderful local opportunity for children to learn and enjoy.

Contact us!

Come by and talk to us any Sunday or






*** *** *** *** ***

May 2019:

New views in the Palm House











*** *** *** *** ***


December 2018:




*** *** *** *** ***

October 2018:

Palm House update from the Wolves Lane Volunteer Development Group

It’s been really exciting to watch the palm house spring back into life during the nice hot summer. Hopefully the disasters of last winter can now be put behind us.

Since the losses in the severe March frost when the heating had broken down, most species including plumbago, philodendrons, bird of paradise flowers, Dutchman’s pipe, lantana, bougainvillea and even mostera have grown strong and beautiful again.

Some damaged palm trees sprouted again from the roots. Three leafless ficus trees resurrected in June, and in July a dracena shoot unexpectedly appeared from the ground.


We have had several donations of new plants from the volunteer team including Cape gooseberry, hibiscus, bromeliads, mostera, morning glories, devil’s ivy and a flourishing little avocado sapling.

Thanks to Loretta, Panos, Louisa, Angela, Pamela, Judith, Gavin, Joseph and Islay for all their help and plant donations in the last few months. 

And to Tina and George who did much hard work on the water pumps as well as caring for the fish and terrapins and cutting back some overgrown plants.

Also to Roger, our ever patient building-fixer, for seeing to several repairs.


Volunteers needed for fleece-wrapping

One Sunday or Wednesday in the next 3-4 weeks, we’re hoping to arrange a fleece-wrapping session. It would be great if Friends could help with labelling the plants, fleece-wrapping the more tender ones and sharing your knowledge about winter care of particular species. Watch this space for a date.

Please save and bring us any old plastic conference badge holders or travelcard/credit card wallets you have –

they make useful plant label covers. Plant labels are ready to put in place as soon as we can acquire some waterproof holders for them.

Plans to restore Rain Forest

It would also be good to tidy up the ‘rain forest’ area and make a tent of fleece or bubble wrap for small specimens of the most heat-needy plants, into which we could put a small electric heater if and when needed. We should be able to use the gas heating as soon as a few rusted valves have been fixed, and a budget has been allocated for the gas bill.

Solar Power Crowdfunding

If we can reach our crowdfunding target, solar power will bring down the electricity bills – including for the pump that runs the gas heating – and leave more funds for site improvements. The crowdfunder also budgets for backup electric storage heaters that we could solar-charge by day and use by night, plus large quantities of bubble wrap and other innovative measures to conserve heat. Hopefully it’s the first stage of a plan to switch mainly to renewable energy, using a ground source heat pump and/or an anaerobic digester. More info

Plans to re-open Wolves Lane for community use and education again

There is so much potential for community use of the site, as a cafe/event space, for school visits and other educational activities.  The rain forest room has potential for an exhibition space for schools – I have some ideas about that and would be happy to discuss them with anyone who is interested. More info here and here.

Donations of plants to sell on Sundays to raise funds most welcome!

We look forward to working with Friends on the Sunday public opening rotas as well, and offers of plants to sell to visitors for the funds would be most welcome.

— Anne Gray

Wolves Lane Volunteer Development Group


*** *** *** *** ***

May 2018:

Wolves Lane Volunteer Development Group

This newly formed group has begun work with the intent of restoring the Palm House. The work is in its early stages, following significant damage done in Winter 2017 due to lack of heat and some broken windows. Much work is still to be done.

The Group is looking for volunteers. If you would like to help out, please come to Wolves Lane Centre on Tuesdays at 11 a.m or contact Lynda or Anne at

Request for plant donations

Do you have any canna, banana, small palms, lantana or strelizia?  Donations of cuttings, seedlings and plants are gratefully received.


*** *** *** *** ***

May 7th, 2018:

Updated views in the Palm House

Taken at the Wolves Lane May Community Market:


Good news: the Koi and the Terrapins have survived, thanks to the devoted care of a staff member who worked for many years at Wolves Lane up to and prior to the handover in April 2017, and who continues to care for them today.


*** *** *** *** ***

February 2018:

Meeting with Catherine West MP and Cllr Peter Mitchell (now Cabinet Member for the Environment) and Cllr Ann Waters

Representatives of the Friends met with MP Catherine West and the Councillors. All were very positive about moving things forwards.

MP Catherine West is keen to raise Wolves Lane issues with Haringey’s new CEO. She regards the Centre as an essential ‘green lung’ in the borough.

After working with MP Catherine West, Haringey Councillors and Haringey Parks, funds have also been found to replace damaged plants in the Palm House.

A Tropical plant expert has toured the Palm House and was thought to be preparing a report. However, a London Grown representative told the Friends that she took notes during the expert’s visit rather than there being a report from that expert.

A plan to reactivate the heating service was also promised to be in progress by a Haringey Parks representative.


*** *** *** *** ***

January 2018:

Unfortunately, many plants in the Palm House have deteriorated since the facility was closed to the public. The Friends are very concerned about this deterioration and damage to this important community resource.

The Friends are working with Councillors, MP, Parks Department, Organic Lea and other stakeholders to resolve this situation as soon as possible.



*** *** *** *** ***

April 1, 2017:

From April 1st 2017, Haringey Council has awarded management of Wolves Lane to OrganicLea.

The Palm House is now open to the public for visits on Sundays

EVERY SUNDAY from 12 noon – 4pm


And there are new activities to join too at Wolves Lane –

see our What’s On page for details!


Contact OrganicLea to find out when the Palm House will open regularly again at  or 020 8524 4994


 It is the Friends of Wolves Lane’s mission to ensure that this valuable community resource is once again enjoyed and accessible to the community it serves. We are working with Haringey Councillors and OrganicLea for innovative ways to ensure this. Please watch our blog for future updates. We look forward to it being open daily to the public again soon.


*** *** *** *** ***

Prior to April 1, 2017:

“Come visit the only Palm House in North London! IMG_20150524_132647740It’s waiting for you at Wolves Lane Centre.

The tranquillity of the Palm House in one of our green houses can be enjoyed by wandering amongst the Palm trees and giant ferns. Tropical birds, terrapins, goldfish and giant koi swimming in the running streams can all be seen.

In summer, vibrantly coloured tropical butterflies flutter through the Palms, and surely this is the only place in Wood Green where bananas can be seen growing on a banana tree!

The entrance to the Palm House is just off the cafe. The door is at the back right of the cafe. It is accessible during regular opening hours.”









13 thoughts on “Palm House Updates:

Add yours

  1. Don’t despair – watering, pruning, glass repairs and above all the spring (even with such a brutish April and the Gulf Stream at a 1600 year slow!) are now helping the palm house to recover. New shoots are appearing even on some plants that looked dead a fortnight ago. The strelitzias and jasmine are starting to flower and the Swiss cheese plants, the creeper by the entrance and several types of palm are showing lots of growth. Alas we have lost the banyan, probably the banana tree, and the hibiscus bushes. The fish are still swimming and the terrapins still sunbathing. Let’s try to fill in the gaps and restore this beautiful place to its full potential. Donations of a few well sprouted avocado pips, rooted passion flower cuttings, morning glory seedlings or anything else exotic would be most welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the update and for your help! I’ll let everyone know about the need for donations of well sprouted avocado pips, rooted passion flower cuttings, morning glory seedlings or anything else exotic!


  2. The Friends look forward to a positive plan for all the community houses – the Palm House, Desert Garden and Rain Forest. It is sad though that, but for a simple action of getting the heating working before the Winter, so many magnificent, mature exotic plants, like the banyan tree, hibiscuses, bananas, dracaenas and lantanas have died. Those like the jasmine, Australians and hardy palms are surviving because they need little protection. The rain forest has been destroyed. Not one weeping fig in it or the Palm House has survived. This was one of the most important educational elements of the Centre and has gone. All the tallest euphorbias in the Desert Garden are dead or dying along with so many other plants which could not survive cold combined with damp. In the Palm House the most urgent priority is shading for the surviving plants. They were scorched last Summer because this was not done. So much protective foliage has now been lost or cut back and hence they are so much more vulnerable. A plan for all the areas is essential. It will require both detailed knowledge of the remaining existing plants, including the chances of their survival, and how they could be integrated into a rejuvenated set of environments for the public to enjoy. Do come to the Centre on the 7th to see it for yourself.


  3. There has been so much revival in the palm house in the last few weeks it’s a delight – do come and see on Sunday! The blue creeper on the trellis as you go in is one of at least 10 species that have burst into bloom during the heatwave. The strelytzias were abundant but have now finished – there will be ripe seed available soon for anyone who wants to try growing their own. The prickly pear flowered in June as did another beautiful scarlet cactus. The weeping fig sometimes drops fruit, and is growing fast. We are in the middle of putting up shade netting to prevent the palms getting scorched. And – wonder of wonders – ficus trees, a lemon tree and lantana and some palms we thought had died have all put out strong new shoots and are looking very promising.

    And the fish had lots of babies too.

    Bring your water bottle and take a deep breath…it’s 39 degrees in there most days, but we’re working every Tuesday none the less.

    Anne Gray


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: