Makeover on a shoestring for London park

Bringing a range of community groups and companies on board has paid off for the team behind a redesigned pocket park in central London.

The new-look St Mary's Garden - photo: HW
The new-look St Mary's Garden - photo: HW

St Mary’s Garden, beside the Garden Museum and Archbishop’s Park on the south bank of the Thames, was officially completed on Friday 26 September.

The £25,000 funding for the project was raised from a basket of sources by local resident and chair of Friends of Archbishop’s Park, Helen Lees, who also drew on volunteers from many backgrounds.

"I couldn’t understand why such a prominent space was not made more interesting and enticing for residents and visitors", she said.

Winfield House head gardener Stephen Crisp was approached to oversee the design and planting, and to make resources go as far as possible. "The design, of waves of plants and hedges, was inspired by the field patterns on an 18th century map of the area", he said. "But it’s no historical recreation – it has a contemporary spirit."

The design includes beds for children’s projects, currently planted up with sunflowers and nasturtiums.

Preparatory work on the garden was carried out by a homeless charity Putting Down Roots and office workers from Shell, among others. It will be maintained by Lambeth Council’s open space contractors, Veolia.


Gavin McEwan recommends

Interview with Stephen Crisp

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