For the Festival of Neighbourhood, a new roof garden space has been created – extending the popular oasis atop the Queen Elizabeth Hall across the bridge to the Hayward Gallery side and creating an elevated green link from the riverfront to Waterloo Bridge.
To create the Woodland Garden, Southbank Centre has again worked with Cornish-based environmental education charity, the Eden Project. The new garden has been designed by Eden’s landscape architect, Jane Knight, its implementation has been master-minded by Eden’s Paul Stone, and all the hard work carried out by Grounded Ecotherapy staff and volunteers who are based at Providence Row Housing Association.
The Woodland Garden was inspired by the quirky nature of the Hayward Gallery rooftop, which has a series of low ceilinged spaces and areas opening up to the sky and elements. With imagination, this resembled a walk through a wood, passing from shaded canopy into bright glades. The Woodland Garden aims to recreate this experience with real plants – light barked birch trees, woodland plants and ferns occupying the darkest corners – and with ‘stage sets’ creating artificial glades created using birch thinnings and lighting effects.
Throughout the Festival of Neighbourhood, the Woodland Garden will showcase Grounded Ecotherapy’s green woodwork skills, and schools will be installing woodland inspired murals.
Of course, the Grounded gardening team will continue to nurture and develop the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden; now in its third year and going from strength to strength. This year the gardening team will be applying what they learnt last autumn in gaining their Certificate in Practical Horticulture at the Eden Project. This oasis – waiting to be discovered – sits at the heart of Southbank Centre and provides beautiful riverside views and a cafe bar set within a diverse patch of wild flowers (over 100 British natives are on display), a patchwork of vegetable plots and bowers of scented climbers. Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden and the Woodland Garden are open throughout the Festival celebrations.
The gardens are open daily from 10am.