Thursday, 14 June 2012

Garden Squares Weekend

Last weekend I joined in a walk or two and also visited one very special garden which I will tell you about in another article. 
Postmans' Park - Ferns
Thankfully the sun was shining on both days.

Saturday I joined the Open Garden Squares Walk with Marion Blair (City of London Guide) who knows her onions (or should that be bulbs?).  A popular tour, if the size of the group had anything to go by, which started at the City Information Centre ('CIC').

We began at the Festival Garden just completed to a contemporary layout in St Paul's old coach park, on to Fidelity Gardens, the area in front of 25 Cannon Street and then to Cleary Gardens. I will not describe the whole route as it will spoil the mystery of it when you take it yourself.  That said having walked around the City in all weathers for the last eight months while studying, it was great to view it from the flora and fauna, trees and landscaping aspect.

'The Gardener' by Karin Jonzen 1971
Postmans' Park, no longer the secret garden it was, a perfect micro climate for a variety of trees and plants. Also not sure that what lies beneath does not encourage the lush growth as well. Marion also explained the important plane tree, the tree of choice for the City, which acts as a 'clean air filter' taking the air pollution,  absorbing it through it's leaves and shedding the poison via flaking bark. No insect will live on it or within it, a foe to biodiversity perhaps but a friend to those who live and work in the busy City.  We also heard the fascinating story of the 'Handkerchief Tree'. Yes,  Marion also knows the Latin name! Which is davidia involucrata.

A visit to Aldermanbury Square was an example of the City of London's planning requirements for developers to include a green or open space within their developments (Section 106).  Contemporary landscaping with beautiful birch trees, and some interesting topiary/trimming or 'table topping' as its called of the precisely positioned  plane trees, with a water feature with 24 jets set flush with the paving (not operating due to drought!!!) and a variety of grasses.  Granite benches with interesting stainless steel inserts along the edge, skate board stops!

Barber Surgeons' Hall
As we made our way towards London Wall and the Barber Surgeons we stopped briefly at 'The Gardener' , not a pub, but a lovely bronze in the garden of Brewers' Hall.

The Barber Surgeons' herb garden, was a new find for me and really interesting, it had also never occurred to me before that you can visit this 'herb' garden at anytime, access down the ramp from London Wall into the Barber Surgeons' garden. It is in the bastion once used as the 'operating' theatre.

Small but beautiful and in four parts; herbs, believed since Medieval times, to have curative powers, herbal remedies, plants discovered to be useful as medicine as further discoveries were made, and plants from which we get such a pill as Asprin.

Plaisterers' Hall Garden - Manicured!

The walk also offers considerable historical background of plants and their discoverers throughout.

We continued along the Roman Wall and admired the neat edging of the area outside the Plaisterers, Hall, and then further along the wall to find where the wild flora and fauna grows.
Roman Wall - wild flower area

We ended at Christchurch Greyfriars,  which due to the lovely wet weather we've been having, was in full bloom. Everyone enjoyed the walk and one couple so much so, they were coming back on Sunday.

Christchurch Greyfriars EC1

If you would like a walk with Marion Blair please contact -

You may have missed this weekend but there are 200 open spaces in the City to explore. look for Parks & Gardens.
A map can also be obtained from the CIC.

1 comment: