Eden gardening team helps reopen London's Southbank Centre roof garden

April 15, 2012
Author: Hannah

Look out for blue potatoes, olive trees, hops and wild flowers on the roof of the Southbank Centre this summer. Smack bang in the centre of London’s vibrant Southbank, the Garden proved a hit when it first opened last year, as passers-by popped in for a summer’s evening drink from the bar or to find a quiet spot on a busy day.

Created as a partnership between Southbank Centre and the Eden Project, it was built from scratch last year by the Grounded gardening team from Providence Row Housing Association (PRHA) working with colleagues from Eden.

Grounded is made up of service users, tenants and former tenants who have suffered homelessness. Some members of Grounded have gone on to gain employment in horticulture and related roles.

The team have worked through the winter months to prepare the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden ready to grow vegetables from around the world, to reflect the Southbank Centre’s site-wide Festival of the World which runs from 1 June to 9 September.

The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

Unusual foods such as blue potatoes, narga peppers (an essential ingredient in Bangladeshi cooking) as well as a mini olive grove are being grown. They also aim to add more greenery to Southbank Centre, training vines, hops and ivy over the concrete walls. Raised beds, wild and pollinating flowers and the lawn will also be maintained.

Eden’s Landscape Architect Jane Knight said: ‘This is now the fourth spring that we’ve worked with our friends from Grounded. In 2009 and 2010, we worked together at Chelsea Flower Show and, building on those experiences, last year we created a garden oasis at the Southbank. It’s been wonderful to see the team’s skills, expertise and confidence grow and we’re all hoping that this next evolution of the roof garden will be just as popular with visitors.’

Fiona Humphrey, Chief Executive of PRHA added: ‘The Grounded team have achieved some fantastic results, especially in involving former homeless people and people with mental health problems to regain confidence and build up skills for the future.’

The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden opens from 10am to dusk. Admission is free, and they are fully accessible.

Read the moving personal story from one of the Grounded gardeners, or find out more about the team behind the garden in this video.

Community, Gardening, Horticulture
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13 responses to Eden gardening team helps reopen London's Southbank Centre roof garden

  1. Genny says:

    Can you tell me if it is possible to view the the roof garden in November, 2012. We will be visiting London then from Australia and would love to be able to see it.
    Thanks Genny

  2. Hannah says:

    At the moment, Southbank are planning to close the garden at the end of September 2012 - but we will keep people updated with photos!

  3. Gilda Galvad says:

    What a G-d send. We saw a rooftop vegetable garden at Cop-17 Durban, it was stunning. I wish we could get our Government in South Africa involved!

  4. JANET NEILSON says:

    Just beautiful!
    Visited this last week during a walk along the embankment. So relaxing! glorious views of the river too!

  5. Lyndsey says:

    Hello, great idea, looking forward to visiting. Are the roof gardens accessible by lift or stairs?



  6. Hannah says:

    The garden is fully accessibly Lyndsey, as there are various lifts within the buildings that make up the South Bank (Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall etc). A member of staff at the South Bank should be able to direct you once you're there. Enjoy.

  7. Janet Ramsey says:

    I visited this garden in 2011. It is well worth a visit. The gardening team involved are very knowledgeable. Recommended.

  8. abass says:

    Doing my architectural installation there. My second project. It's gonna be fun!!

  9. Sam Gray says:

    We visited yesterday, stunning. The volunteer gardener's are really friendly and very knowledgeable, left me and my friend a primary school teacher very inspiried and motivated.

  10. Alison says:

    Please could you tell me if the 'drop in' gardening sessions on Tuesdays are still running and, if so, if it would be ok to bring along a small child who would love to help out doing any simple tasks (3 years old)? Many thanks.

  11. Hannah says:

    Alison, apologies for the delay. The best person to contact is the new Southbank Roof Garden co-ordinator, Julian Cox, who will be organising gardening sessions etc. You can get hold of him on: Julian.cox@southbankcentre.co.uk or 020 7921 8078.

  12. Dr Hans Jaeger says:

    very impressive work
    Could you please send me the address for someone that I could ask questions to regarding the rooftopgarden
    there may be a chance to do a similar project here in Munich

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