Monday, January 11, 2016

Crossrail Place Exotics

It's been a long time since I wrote a blog post and writing one after a period of absence feels a bit strange, albeit nice at the same time.

In the run up to last Christmas we made a special trip to check out the roof garden at Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf, London. It officially opened last May and it is a retail and public space with a 4,160 square meter roof garden. The complex was designed by Foster and Partners to mimic the clippers that once frequented West India North Dock.

As we entered took the escalator up and entered the complex this was first glimpse we had of a very promising public space...


Then looking back...


And looking up...


Fabulous looking space, in the midst of the financial district of London! 



The planting is new and is yet to establish but is looking good so far. They have used several exotics in the scheme and in multiple numbers. Different sections are supposed to represent the flora of far flung areas.


Most noticeable, in fact very hard to ignore are the use of multiple tall tree fern Dicksonia antarctica. Even more impressive is that they all have irrigation installed that goes all the way up to their crowns. An evidence that whoever did the planting and planning is knowledgeable enough of the growing requirements of this beautiful group of plants. More often than not tree ferns in public spaces are left to their own devices likely to perish due to being underwatered.







 Everything has a newly planted feel, but given time to fill out and the tree ferns to put out a full canopy it will look great.

Walking through the garden kind of reminded me of New York's highline...








Weekends are usually a quiet period in Canary Wharf, unlike other more popular parts of London. Weekdays I can imagine that the garden is pretty busy, especially during lunch hour wherein this is a great place to eat and have a break from work...


Although I work in London every day and Gaz is there regularly we don't often frequent this part of London.

Mark :-)

23 comments:

  1. Apart from the plantings, the amazing thing is that you seemed to have it all to yourself. Also noticed quite a few deciduous trees so in summer it would look quite different.

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    1. That's the good about weekends in a business district, almost a ghost town during the weekends :)

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  2. Wow, this is so cool! A little slice of paradise right in the middle of London. You can have a quick tropical getaway without leaving the city.

    Welcome back, BTW. You were missed :-).

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    1. Thank you Gerhard :) last quarter of 2015 was very hectic but hoping to have more balanced time now

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  3. I've missed your posts Mark ! This is really well done must say , and quite a diversity of plantings too.So who is responsible for the management of these gardens ? Is the ownership/management of the building complex paying for maintenance or is the city involved at all ? I've been reading about Dan Pearson et als bridge project and I often wonder how $$ is raised to develop and maintain these places .

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    1. Glad to be back Kathy! Not sure who will be responsible but I can imagine the businesses within the complex will greatly contribute to its upkeep.

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  4. Welcome back Mark! The site is very impressive indeed. I love the structure, providing a welcome sense of enclosure (which must be particularly nice during inclement weather) but also providing wonderful light.

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    1. Thanks Kris! Most of the canopy is open however owing to being within tall structures it will have an even milder microclimate than other parts of an already mild London.

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  5. Lovely to see a post from you in my blog reader! As for the garden, it's wonderful...all those tree ferns!!!

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    1. Thanks Loree! And oh to have all those tree ferns!!

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  6. It looks like a truly wonderful space full of fab plants. So nice to read a post from you again. Hope life is treating you well.

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  7. Hello again! Thanks for showing us that, looks like an exciting new space that'll get even better if it's maintained as well as it's planted. I hope that irrigation for the tree ferns works, nothing sadder than a slowly shrivelling tree fern. I was lucky to go to NZ a couple of years ago, the TFs were in a different league, such amazing plants.

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  8. It would be interesting to see it in a few years.. it looks as though some of those trees could be way up through the gaps in the roof!

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  9. What a wonderful space! Seeing the deciduous trees made me think of the Biodome in Montreal. To my knowledge, the Aspen there were the first cold-hardy, deciduous trees to have survived, and been able to go through their annual cycle in an indoor environment. This was back in the mid-90's - obviously that experiment panned out well! Love the tree ferns. Mine took a beating when I waited a little too long to bring it inside. All the fronds turned brown. :( I take comfort in that at least they haven't turned mushy, so hopefully it will sprout some new ones, come spring.

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  10. That's interesting - it reminds me a little of the Sky Garden in Fenchurch Street. I haven't been to the Crossrail Place - I'll give it a visit now I've read this post. Welcome back!

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  11. What a treasure for London! The tree ferns are amazing; I would not have associated them with London at all. Are they hardy, or must they be inside a protected environment?

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  12. Hi Mark, wow, what an awesome place to visit! As you said it seems to be very well done and simply looks spectacular. How wonderful that people can go there and just enjoy their lunch. I can't help but wonder how much it has cost to implement this garden. But whatever the number, it is money very well spent. Glad you got out there to take a look. Thanks for sharing!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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  13. Hi Mark, that seems like an awesome place to go and visit! If there's one thing I adore, it's seeing wonderful little pockets of nature in urban environments like this. To me there's a certain aesthetic beauty that can be seen in the melding of these two very different environments that tend to evoke a sense of wonderment in me. It's nice to see what can be achieved when nature and man work together. Thank you for showing us this brilliant place!

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  14. Welcome back ! What humungous tree ferns ! The garden must be a very welcome haven of green for many people.

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  15. Somewhere we must visit! I like the grassy bits (technical term!), not so keen on tree ferns. London is always transforming, there are so many new things to see.

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  16. Amazing. I love the natural look inside. It seems their a vast collection of plants species planted their. I hope I could visit this place and see the plants on it someday.

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  17. Thanks for sharing all the photos. I am determined to see this in 2016. Made a decision not to work full time.... Do hope I can keep to it this year. Good tip, to visit at the weekend. All the best- Karen

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