If you’re at London’s Southbank this summer and have even just 10 minutes to spare, duck out of the crowds and up onto the roof of the Hayward Gallery, where you’ll discover a secret, woodland garden.
Part garden, part artistic installation, and formed of beautiful birch trees and wild plants, the Woodland Garden has been designed by Eden’s landscape architect Jane Knight to give the impression of passing through a dappled forest.
Amongst the peeling silver birch trunks you’ll spot woodland flowers such as ferns, foxgloves, lady’s mantle, euphorbia and wood anenomes.
Jane worked with staff and volunteers from recovery and mental wellbeing group Grounded Ecotherapy to create this new extension to the much-visited rooftop garden at Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Many members of the group, based at London’s Providence Road Housing Association, have been homeless or had problems with alcohol or drugs, and have trained in horticulture at the Eden Project. During the summer the Grounded Ecotherapy team will be showcasing their green woodworking skills at the garden, such as wood turning.
‘I thought that, with imagination, this place resembled a walk through a woodland, passing from shaded canopy into bright glades,’ she says. ‘The Woodland Garden aims to recreate this experience with real plants and “stage sets” creating artificial glades.’
Local schools are also contributing to the project, creating woodland-inspiring murals for the gardens.
This is the third year running that Eden has teamed up the group to bring a little patch of greenery to the Southbank. Just around the corner you can visit the garden we first developed together in 2011, which features native wild flowers, a patchwork of vegetable plots, bowers of scented climbers – not to mention beautiful riverside views and a cafe bar.
The gardens are open to the public throughout the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Neighbourhood during summer 2013. They are open – weather-dependent – from 10am to 10pm, every day until the end of September 2013.