Tuesday, 2 June 2015

City in Bloom 2015 - Barings Roof Top Gardens

City in Bloom is a flagship annual horticultural event organised by Friends of City Gardens for the City of London to celebrate the huge variety of flowering and green spaces within the Square Mile. It is open to all within the City including residents, community gardens, city corporates and other commercial enterprises, churches, schools and other institutions. Last year City in Bloom had over 90 entries. This year we are hoping to have about 120. City in Bloom is part of a larger UK competition organised by the Royal Horticultural Society called Britain in Bloom.

City in Bloom is entirely organised by volunteers, and I am pleased to say I am one of them.

Last year we made contact with our nominations by visiting them personally, this year we have a database containing all the information we collected last year so not quite so personal, which I miss. However, I did get the opportunity to visit a new nomination, the stunning roof garden created by Barings Asset Management Limited high above Bishopsgate.

The atrium at 155 Bishopsgate
Barings can trace its origins to 1762 when it was established as a firm of merchants and merchant bankers. They traded in commodities ranging from woollen cloth and timber to spices and silks as well as providing banking services to other merchants.

There are in fact two roof gardens and the aim was to improve the view from the meeting rooms, provide hospitality facilities and make a positive enviromental impact. They appointed a renowned landscape architect Charles Funke to create the gardens.

The Baring family had always been keen horiticulturalists and their Hampshire estates reflected this. They are also related to Gertrude Jekyll who designed a garden for Durmast House in Burley.

The plants selected reflect Barings long history, such as Camellia sinensis which represents the commercial tea plant. Tea was also a commodity they carried in their own clipper ship 'Norman Court' built the same year as the 'Cutty Sark'.  The Northern terrace is inspired by Asia and the Southern terrace by Europe. Here is featured a 70 year old Cork Oak (Quercus suber), there are also arches of Japanese Larch.

On the Asian terrace is a Quercus Dentata, aka Daimyo Oak, this has been grown as a miniature form yet retains the leaf size of a fully grown tree. Sorry no photograph.

Can be seen here http://www.charlesfunke.com/casestudy.php?csid=70#

The garden provides herbs for the in house chefs. There are also two fruit trees, Malus nana (dwarf espalier apples) and a pear tree.  There is a globe of the world water feature reflecting Barings global activities, and proves to be an attraction for dragon flies. Also six Goldfinches have been spotted this spring. During my visit there were several groups of bees busily gathering nectar from blooms.

The Camellia is in there somewhere

We hope to encourage Barings to join Open Garden Square Weekend in 2016 so we can share with you the delights of this rather special roof top paradise.

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