As part of London Open Garden Squares Weekend, the roof garden at the Blue Fin Building (IPC Media) on Southwark Street was opened and provided a real treat, a surprising garden and panoramic views across London.
40m/ten storeys up above London’s streets, it is a substantial terrace on three sides of this distinctive building, with extensive views up and down the Thames, to the City and to Parliament, right over to Crystal Palace and so much more.
This 400m2 terrace has been designed as a contemporary space for employees to both relax and eat. The planting is simple and striking and complements the harder lines of the building by incorporating curves with architectural foliage and flowers.
The soil can be a maximum of only 30cm deep, so planting possibilities are limited (though the idea of limited has been stretched as you can see) and plants have to be tough. In the middle of the city however, and with the building itself acting as a giant storage radiator, providing shelter and warmth (apparently there were no losses caused by this year’s lasting cold weather), the range of planting is indeed tough but far from dull.
The Planting List, all in just 30cm of soil – and designed by Mathew Bell.
Buxus sempervirens, olive trees, Agapanthus africanus, Pittosporum tobira nana, Campanula porscharskyana, Bambusa retake, Iris bearded blue variety, Digitalis alba, Pittosporum tenuifolium, Cotinus coggygria Royal Purple, Lythrium salicaria, Geum Totally Tangerine, Agapanthus Peter Pan, Erysimum Bowle’s Mauve, Tulbaghia violate, Polygala myrtifolia, Rosemarimus officinalis, Arbutus unedo, Caryopeterix clandonensis, Libertia Taupo Blaze, Phormium tenax variegatum, Wisteria, Miscanthus Morning Light, Stachys byzantina, Rosa banksiae Lutea, Scabiosa Blue Mist, Prunus cerasifera Nigra and Lavandula stoeachas.
Oh, and there’s a vineyard too, outside the office of ‘Decanter’. And a vegetable garden. The staff go Country Homes and Interiors look after this!
I can extend my advice on what to recommend for a planting on a roof terrace now, quite considerably…..
Not all roof gardens have a Chelsea Gold winning garden designer, or the budget, to work with. Next door to the Blue Fin Building…
Back to the views…
Looking over to the Shard (without paying £25 for the privilege of looking out from it)
Looking due West over the River to the Tate Modern at Bankside and over to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Nothing horticultural at all here, but the building progress of the new Herzog and de Meuron extension to the Tate Modern.
The tour of this roof garden was followed up by visiting the Tate Modern Community Garden, hidden behind ivy clad chain-link fencing, the gardens at St Paul’s Cathedral, Christchurch Greyfriars (a shell of a church, the nave replaced by beautifully planted cottage garden) Postman’s Park and then onto Inner Temple and Middle Temple Gardens, which have the look and feel of both another city and another age. See Martin Chuzzlewit…