London’s newest green spaces: from bee-friendly gardens to floating wetlands

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If you spend a day navigating central London’s busier thoroughfares, you may find it hard to believe that you are in one of the 10 greenest capitals in the world.

In fact, the capital is rich in parks and garden squares, and the good news is that new ones are constantly being planned and planted, bringing benefits to both the environment and the general population.

Here are some of my favorite new green interventions in the heart of the city to check out this summer.

Pollinator Pathmaker at Hyde Park North Flower Walk, W2

Have you ever wondered how bees see the natural world? Artist turned entomologist and gardener Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg has developed an algorithm to optimize planting from a bee’s perspective.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg at the Back to Earth project in Hyde Park

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You can see the result of this computer-programmed planting in Hyde Park as part of the Serpentine Galleries’ Back to Earth project. See what the garden is planned and look like from a bee’s point of view and create your own pollinator garden online.

Superbloom at the Tower of London, EC3N

Inspired by American desert blooms, the Tower of London has transformed the former moat around the tower into a biodiversity hotspot to celebrate its anniversary year.

Layers of carefully designed plantings, all sown as 20 million seeds just weeks ago, have just begun to bloom, providing a nectar-rich carpet of color throughout the summer through late September. Entry to the space is ticketed this year, but in time it will become London’s newest park.

The biodiversity hotspot around the Tower of London

RICHARD LEA HAIR

Floating Swamp Garden at Royal Docks, E16

In the northwest corner of the Royal Docks, near City Airport, is a newly created floating garden. Planted with over 30 native plant species that also grow along the Thames Estuary, it provides a green refuge in an otherwise desolate wetland area.

It’s a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the wildlife and water in the dock and see the old industrial area from a new perspective.

Alfred Place Gardens on Tottenham Court Road, N1C

Once a quiet, nondescript backstreet with parked cars, Alfred Place has been transformed into the West End’s newest pocket park. Located just off Goodge Street between Chenies Street and Store Street, the gray tarmac has been replaced by lawns, trees, woodland plants and a children’s play area.

A clever addition of the mature London plane trees might make you think the park has been there for years. Imagine if every insignificant backstreet got the same treatment. Let’s have more of this, please.

West End’s newest pocket park

Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

Jellicoe Gardens in King’s Cross, N1C

If you’ve been to Coal Drops Yard you may have discovered the plethora of new green spaces created around the King’s Cross project by some of the UK’s most prestigious garden design studios. The planting in these new spaces is very special. As you progress through the development you will find the most recent garden extension designed by Tom Stuart-Smith.

See the remarkable planting around King’s Cross, especially at Jellicoe Gardens

John Sturrock

Named after the influential architect and urban planner Sir Geffory Jellicoe, Jellicoe Gardens is located near the Aga Khan center and is inspired by a classical Persian garden. Between the planting of blocks and the dappled shade of trees, a calming stream runs through the center of the garden, a peaceful retreat from the chaos on Euston Road.

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