Eden Project turns Southbank from grey to green
The Eden Project brought together a group of 50 volunteers – including former homeless people and ex-prisoners, local schools, youth groups and neighbours – to transform the top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall into a lush 1,200m2 garden.
Created by the Eden Project’s landscape architect Jane Knight and designer Paul Stone, the garden includes orchards, vegetable plots, a rosebud walk, and herb garden. City Hall provided funding as part of the Mayor’s Capital Growth scheme to encourage green roofs generally.
Knight said: “The whole idea behind the garden is that it is a taste of British gardens and landscapes. We have a wildflower area with 90 different varieties, specially built to attract nature to the centre of London. A pergola clothed with scented climbers gives access to the Hayward Gallery over a bridge lined with drought-resistant plants growing in cracks in the pavement.”
The original 1951 festival celebrated the achievements of the nation as it emerged from post-war austerity, and was attended by eight million people.
The roof garden is one of three new gardens featuring at the anniversary celebrations, which run until 4 September and include performances, exhibitions, talks and events by some of Britain’s leading artists and thinkers. The other gardens are a new staircase featuring wild urban grassland planting by Andrew Lock, and a seaside garden created by members of the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Parks Team.