It’s already been a busy old year for gardening in London, and promises to continue in the same vein. A couple of weeks ago we all had a 4 day weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee: including of course the river pageant, which I popped down to Wapping to see pass by. The boats and bells were pretty impressive: and of course a long weekend isn’t really a proper holiday in the UK unless you’ve spent at least a couple of hours standing around in the rain!
The pageant wasn't purely nautical, but also had an important floral element: anybody who saw the pageant on TV will have noticed the beautiful floral arrangements on the royal barge by Rachel de Thame. And of course the river pageant isn’t the only celebration going on in London this summer: there are only a few weeks to go now until the Olympic and Paralympic Games: hosted in my very own borough of Hackney! I’m really looking forward to it: the sport and spectacle of course, but also seeing the Olympic Park itself, which will boast over 120,000 plants representing Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Southern Hemisphere, designed by Sarah Price and with wild flower meadows by Nigel Dunett. If the practice plantings from the last couple of years are anything to go by it should be stunning.
2012 has also been a special year in marking the birth of the Chelsea Fringe festival. The Fringe is the brain child of Tim Richardson, who was inspired by the Edinburgh Fringe festival, and thought that the Chelsea Flower Show should have its gardening equivalent. And so in May and June we had 3 weeks of community gardening projects springing up all over London.
My local community gardens at the Dalston Eastern Curve and King Henry’s Walk were both very involved (with the Eastern Curve enjoying a visit from the Duchess of Cornwall in true Jubilee style), and our local gardening club grouped together to pimp our pavements by sprucing up some of our local tree pits. You can read more about my street-gardening experience on the project blog here. Since they were planted it’s continued to be warm(ish) and wet, which seems to have suited the plants very well: they are really filling out the tree pits quite handsomely now!
Despite hard times for many people, London 2012 really is a city of celebration: with gardens and gardeners right at its core!