In our festival this summer there are three new gardens. The largest is an extensive garden on the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall, created in partnership with the Eden Project in Cornwall.
An oasis at the heart of Southbank Centre, the garden is being grown and maintained by the Grounded Ecotherapy group at the housing charity Providence Row together with community groups and is the place to escape to this summer. With beautiful riverside views, a cafe bar, allotments and wild flowers, Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden is open throughout the Festival celebrations.
Beside the river is a seaside garden created by the prize-winning borough gardeners of Southend-on-Sea featuring typical seaside planting and a cockler’s hut. The new staircase linking Southbank Centre Square with the Hayward Gallery Overhang terrace features wild seaside planting and doubles as an amphitheatre. Foliage is irrigated by aquifers that air-condition Royal Festival Hall, so the water that nourishes the building also nourishes the plants.
A GARDEN IN THE SKY
Created in association with Cornwall’s Eden Project and designed by Eden’s Jane Knight and Paul Stone, the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden features river views, a lush lawn sprinkled with daisies and fruit trees that conjure up a country orchard. With over 90 varieties, the wildflower area is a celebration of the diversity of British flora, attracting insects and butterflies while providing nectar for bees from the hives on Royal Festival Hall’s roof. The garden has a patchwork of vegetable plots – a roof, after all, can be both productive and attractive. And a rustic pergola, clothed with sweetscented climbers, crowns a bridge to the Hayward Gallery punctuated with drought-resistant plants.