PRHA’s Grounded gardening team develops Southbank Centre Roof Garden
The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden at London’s Southbank Centre reopens to the public on Friday 6 April (Good Friday) for the summer. The Garden – a partnership between Southbank Centre and the Eden Project - was built from scratch last year by the ‘Grounded’ gardening team from Providence Row Housing Association working with colleagues from the Eden Project. It was created as part of the celebrations to mark the Festival of Britain’s 60th Anniversary and it proved so popular that it will open again for Spring & Summer 2012.
The Grounded team worked through the winter months to prepare the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden for the Spring. This year the team will be growing 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. 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.
Shan Maclennan, Creative Director of Learning and Participation at Southbank Centre said, “We’re delighted to see the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden expand through the Grounded team’s hard work. It’s a great attraction for our many visitors and we look forward to seeing the Roof Garden flourish over the spring and summer, with many new people getting involved in the growing of the garden too.”
Eden Project’s Landscape Architect Jane Knight added: “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 said: “It’s great to see the Grounded team build on their expertise. They 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.”
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 Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden opens from 10am to dusk. Admission is free.