Open Garden Squares Weekend: Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June
Tickets have gone on sale for this year’s Open Garden Squares Weekend – a highly anticipated event in the capital’s cultural calendar. With 211 gardens taking part in 2016, a single ticket allows visitors an unique opportunity to discover and explore some of London’s most fascinating squares, gardens and green spaces – most of which are not normally open to the public. Tickets are priced £12 in advance (£14 over the weekend), and available by visiting www.opensquares.org
From the innovative, historical and prestigious, to the secret, hidden and little known. Gardens this year include many of London’s most exclusive private squares, some of the city’s most magnificent roof-top gardens, as well as gardens on barges, indoor flower installations, pop-up orchards and diminutive secret spaces tucked behind the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets.
Open Gardens Squares Weekend 2016 highlights:
Roof top gardens with London’s iconic skyline as backdrop – including Nomura International PLC, Roof Gardens in Kensington, Canary Wharf Crossrail Place, Blue Fin Roof Garden and St Luke’s Terrace Garden
Edible and medicinal gardens – including Eversheds Vegetable Garden, the River Cafe garden, Osterley House, Forty Hall Farm, Cranbrook Community Food Garden and Fulham Palace Meadows Allotment
The quirky and fascinating – including Garden Barge Square, Core Landscapes pop-up mini orchards, Barbican Station pop-up, Skip Garden, MaRoCoCo Garden at Rococo Chocolates, Beech Gardens at the Barbican and Dalston Eastern Curve
London’s premier private squares – open for one weekend only – including Eccleston Square, Edwardes Square, Eaton Square, Belgrave Square and Chester Square
An exciting programme of tours, walks, talks and cycle rides – all for free with a weekend ticket – including art and sculpture, poets in residence and family-themed activities
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, President of the London Parks & Gardens Trust, organisers of the event, said: “Open Garden Squares Weekend is a unique and vibrant annual event, offering people a chance to visit, explore and learn about the capital’s exciting and diverse green spaces. Now in its 19th year the weekend is much broader than the ‘Open Garden Squares’ title suggests and offers visitors unrivalled access to some of London’s most exciting floating and rooftop gardens, allotments, transformed brownfield sites, urban wildlife and ecology centres as well as new, experimental gardens.”
19 new gardens join in 2016, including:
‘City Garden’ at the City Centre (EC2R 5AR) – a site specific installation by artist Rebecca Louise Law using natural materials inspired by gardens within the City of London – a micro-theatre of London’s natural world. Flowers entwined with copper wire are suspended above head height where they can be closely observed as they dry and preserve. Law has worked all over the world including Japan and America, and has made installations for fashion brands like Hermes, Gucci and Jimmy Choo, for whom she suspended 6,000 English country flowers from the ceiling of the main greenhouse at Clifton Nurseries.
Coutts Skyline Garden (WC2R 0QS) – the brainchild of executive chef Peter Fiori and cleverly installed by the late Richard Vine with the help of the Clink charity based at HMP High Down – lies on each side of a narrow walkway around the roof of the building. There are four areas: the south-facing fruit garden, Vine Lane – a tribute to the late Richard Vine, a kitchen garden and a cottage garden.
Crossbones Memorial Garden (SE1 1TA) – known as the single women’s burial ground, as many of the Bishop of Winchester’s ‘geese’ are buried here – women who worked as prostitutes under licence from the Bishop of Winchester. The highlight of the garden is its stunning ‘goosewing’ entrance way, designed and built by artist Arthur de Mowbray. The layout of the beds and planting was established by landscape architect Helen John, co-designed with the community. Plants with red, white and deep-purple flowers and distinctive foliage burst through the existing broken ‘strip’ (the original archaeological trench dug in the 1990s) representing the lives and energies of the people buried there.
The Master’s Garden (EC4Y 7DE) – on the north side of the Temple complex (London’s Inns of Court) and a stone’s throw from Fleet Street – The Master’s House is the vicarage associated with Temple Church. The main part of the garden is an elevated plateau built above catacombs dating back to the 17th century, when the crypts within the church were full.
Providence Row Rooftop Garden (E1 7SA) – a green and peaceful haven created in 2013 as part of the charity’s work helping more than a thousand homeless and vulnerably housed people in East London. The garden consists of a lush courtyard and rooftop allotment with ponds and wildflower planting. A ‘forest garden’ corner supports large fruit and nut shrubs with edible underplanting, and a colony of bees pollinate the produce and produce honey. Much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs are used in the kitchen, which produces breakfasts and lunches for between 30-15 rough sleepers every day.
Twitter: @OpenSquares #OGSW16
Ticket information: one ticket gains access to all gardens (excluding those with special conditions for entry) for both Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June. Advance tickets are priced £12 and available from www.opensquares.org. A ticket bought over the weekend is priced £14. Children under 12 go free.
Listings Information: Open Garden Squares Weekend: Saturday 18 and Sunday 18 June 2016. Over 200 private, unusual and little-known gardens and green spaces open to the public across 27 London boroughs for one weekend only. Organised by the London Parks and Gardens Trust to celebrate the capital’s unique urban, green space network. Includes an exciting programme of tours, walks, talks and cycle rides.
Weekend tickets: £12 in advance / £14 over the weekend. Under 12s go free
Visit www.opensquares.org to book and for more info. Follow on Twitter @OpenSquares