The Garden Bridge which links the South Bank to Temple tube station, will open to the public in summer of 2018 and will be include 2,500m2 of planted green space.
The Trust's team responsible for the delivery and maintenance of the garden visited Palmstead Nurseries in Ashford, Kent, and the tree nursery, Deepdale Trees, in Sandy, Bedfordshire, who are cultivating the plants for the Garden Bridge.
They were accompanied by trustee and executive vice president of the RHS Jim Gardiner, planting contractor for the project Willerby Landscapes, Dan Pearson the landscape designer and design consultant Arup.
The purpose of the initial visit to the nurseries was to provide an opportunity for the team delivering the Bridge to understand the capabilities of the nurseries to produce the plants.
The selection process for the trees and specimen shrubs will begin in October/November 2015, and these plants will then be acclimatised to conditions on the Bridge. It is intended that all trees and shrubs will be collated at Deepdale Trees, in Bedfordshire by late December 2015.
Shrubs and perennial plants will be propagated from seed and cuttings by Palmstead Nurseries at their facilities in Kent. Growing of the plants will begin up to two years before they are planted over the River Thames. Construction of the Bridge runs from January 2016 to November 2017, when the planting will begin on the Bridge. The garden will be completed and open to the public in the summer of 2018.
Willerby Landscapes proposed both nurseries, with whom they have worked with before on the landscaping of the Olympic Park in the pre-Games construction period and post-Games during the legacy transformation phase. Willerby Landscapes will be entrusted with the maintenance of the garden for five years post opening. They will work alongside a small team of gardeners employed by the Trust who will work on ensuring the environment thrives throughout the seasons.
Garden Bridge Trust programme developer Anthony Marley said: "The Trust is well on the way to providing a wonderful new garden for London. Starting this selection process represents the next step in delivering this space for Londoners and visitors alike. Working with an experienced British planting contractor like Willerby Landscapes ensures creating a garden in this distinctive environment will be world class. It is fantastic to have some of the greatest landscaping, engineering and design minds creating a wonderful asset for the people of Britain that we hope will be deeply rooted in our country's heritage."
Willerby Landscapes managing director John Melmoe said: "The flora will be weaved into a carefully designed narrative by the award-winning landscape designer Dan Pearson. He has created five distinct landscape areas for the Garden Bridge, taking inspiration from plant cultivation in London over the centuries. They include the wild marshlands on the South Bank, through to the ornamental gardens of the North Bank and are designed to respond to the climate along the length of the Bridge."