Eliza Nicholas - The Last Word - SE22 Magazine


I’m Eliza Nicholas, founder of Rocket – a garden design and workshop initiative. I left my corporate job to start a business dedicated to supporting wildlife and wellbeing, helping people in the city reconnect with nature.

How long have you lived in the area?
I moved to Dulwich a year ago, and instantly fell in love with it. As a garden designer with clients all over the country I’m often travelling around, but I always look forward to returning home to the charm of East Dulwich.

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?
The independent, quirky shops and restaurants make Lordship Lane a lovely place to live near. There’s a great sense of community that I really value.

Do you belong to any groups?
I’m a member of the Dulwich Note-orious Choir and now enjoy being part of the committee as well. It is a brilliant group that gets together above the East Dulwich Tavern to sing and have a laugh, as well as performing concerts locally – details on the website if you fancy trying it out!

Describe your perfect weekend
My ideal weekend features yoga, gardening and a Sunday roast with friends. I’m passionate about urban vegetable growing and showing others how easy and satisfying it is. I often run workshops at weekends for groups that want to learn urban gardening basics.

What is your favourite place to eat?
I love the Blue Brick café on Fellbrigg Road. They do brilliant vegetarian lunches and it’s such a cosy spot.

The best kept secret…
The Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses is wonderful and I tell everyone about it! It’s a fantastic space that welcomes volunteers to help with gardening and hosts events from crafts to fermentation workshops.

When I want to relax…
I love getting a group of friends together for dinner and drinks, or going on a long walk with a flask of tea. I also go to Life Drawing classes at the Clock House on Peckham Rye Park, which is a lot of fun.

What is your favourite shop?
It’s got to be Rye Books on North Cross Road. There’s a lovely atmosphere, delicious flapjacks and a gorgeous dog to make a fuss of while you’re browsing. I also enjoy spending time in Forest because it’s magical inside and I can’t get enough of houseplants.

My perfect holiday…
Anything from a camper van holiday to a weekend city break. I love exploring new places, trying local food and learning about plants and wildlife in different climates. I’ve always wanted to do a sunrise yoga class on the beach.

The book I’m reading at the moment…
RHS How Can I Help Hedgehogs, which is full of information about rapidly declining wildlife numbers and what we can do to support birds, pollinators and everything else. It’s important we’re making every effort possible to create and enhance habitats. Everyone can make a difference in their gardens, no matter how small.

www.rocketgardendesign.com, @rocket_gardendesign

This article first appeared in the April 2020 issue of SE22.