Have I told you I’m retired. Oh. Yes I guess I have. A lot. It’s approaching two years now. Two whole years. I am still getting asked. Aren’t you bored yet? I always give the same answer. Bored. Bored? Only with being asked that question.
I have lists to get through. Lists given to me by Ian. Some things I have ticked off. Some still remain after two years. Like the loft. My theory is if it’s waited 15 years what’s another two. I have gardens to see. Workshops to do. Galleries to peruse. Oh. And add in a few trips to Andalucia. New plants and bulbs to purchase.
I agreed, with myself admittedly, that I would have one day off a week. One day where it was all about me. Ian would say what’s different to the other 6. But I wanted a day where I could do what I liked. No home duties. No shopping. Just a me day. Admittedly some weeks I have two. This week was one of those weeks. Ok some weeks I have seven. Especially when I’m in the garden in Spain.
I have had a a busy one. Involving gardens. A museum. A theatre visit. Making the most of a bit of late sun. In London.
Yesterday was a good day. Starting in Blackheath with a pretty good bacon sarnie, a bus ride across the heath and down into Greenwich. It’s pretty surprising what you find when you have a bit of a wander. Aimlessly with you camera. And no sense of purpose.
Having left Ian at the station I wandered along to the river. I used to cycle to Greenwich on my way to the office. Admittedly it was in a previous decade or two. I know that as at that stage I could and did wear Lycra. So in some ways I was retracing old steps. This time not in Lycra. It wasn’t a pretty sight then. It would be shocking now.
I used to go through the foot tunnel which is adjacent to the river. I was surprised yet delighted to find a small patch of planting close to the entrance to the tunnel. Even more surprised that it was not your usual planting , not the odd geranium here and there and bedding plants. Now. There’s nothing wrong with that combination. Planting is important. Of all kinds. But it’s great to find something different.
Having the Piet Oudolf garden near us in Somerset has made me a fan of this style of planting. But for me it’s great in summer and Autumn. I’m not a Winter or spring fan of prairie. Give me lots of Spring bulbs. Daffs. Bluebells. Tulips.
I love the effect of the planting against the harsh concrete and glass in the distance of Canary Wharf. Continuing colour into Autumn. With the drying seed heads. Canary Wharf. The destination of my cycle rides. My work destination for 28 years. Now tthe cycle rides are qin the dim and distant past. In later years I drove. Not through this tunnel of course. But through a different one.
My destination of the day was the Sky Garden at the Walkie Talkie building Fenchurch street. But before my allocated slot I had a bit of time to kill so I had a wander. It’s easy to walk around London when you live here with your eyes closed and miss the things that are around you. To take things for granted. Like the phone box and post box combination. Typically British. Very nostalgic. Since retiring I have had the opportunity to wander. Aimlessly and often. Here and there. There and here. Wherever here or there is at any given time!
I had wanted to go the Sky Garden for a long time. But for whatever reason I hadn’t managed to get a ticket. It’s free but you have to book a time and they only come in two week booking slots. I had booked for last Friday but somehow failed to get into town in time. Luckily you can change the time and day online and I was determined to get there. So I took the boat. From Greenwich to Tower Hill. The brilliant Thames Clipper. When I first started work in Canary Wharf decades ago I used to travel from Embankment to Canary Wharf on the original river taxis. It was the old days and traffic was light. There was a large boat. And a 12 seater which sometimes we were allowed to board. Things are different these days. A fabulous service where you can get a drink on board too! A great way to see the river frontage enroute up the Thames.
I digress. Which I do a lot. So to the Sky Garden. Situated on the 35th floor of 20 Fenchurch Street.
The views from the viewing platform and from inside the building are stunning. London sights. St Paul’s. The Tower. London Bridge station. The London eye.
There is a great cafe with some awesome cakes. Hot coffee. Suitable for all the gardening fraternity who seem to like a bit of cake. Me included.
The planting is interesting. People know I am a bit of a fan of tree ferns. Of Agaves. Succulents. There are plenty here amongst a lot of good planting.
I loved seeing a couple of pearly / foxtail agaves which we have in our garden in Andalucia.
The tree ferns were pretty spectacular too and there were a lot.
I had been to the Crossrail roof garden the week before ( yep on another day off). I love that garden. The major difference to me is that there you walk through the garden. At the Sky garden you walk around the periphary. The planting hangs down two sides and you walk around it. And look up to it. Does that make sense? It somehow feels that you are part of the planting at Crossrail and they have some cool information boards on the planting.
The Sky Garden is a great space and I wonder how the garden will evolve. It’s an oasis in the city and worth a visit for sure. For me the views take over from the garden as they are spectacular. I found the garden secondary to the views.
It’s amazing what you can see from 35 floors up. These are two fabulous looking roof gardens on city of London rooftops. I have no idea of whose buildings they are but it’s great to see the diversity and greenery in the city. You would and do walk past these buildings with no idea what’s above you.
You often don’t realise how green the city is. Greenery splashed wherever you look.
So. It was last week but I’ll include some pics of Crossrail place roof garden. It’s an amazing quiet space in the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf. Canary Wharf is an amazing place. Yes. Concrete. Glass. But tee are some wonderful,diversions. Green spaces. Art. Sculpture. They do a great guide to Art on the Estate
There are a lot of green spaces around the Canary Wharf estate beautifully maintained and an oasis. It’s definetly worth a visit. Despite having worked on the Wharf for 28 years I am still a huge fan!
Earlier in the week I had wandered into the Wallace Collection A free entry museum in Marylebone. An excellent collection and a fabulous gallery. As usual I found a flowery picture to send to My friend Georgie Newberry
Next weeks another week. And another garden. We are off to Blenheim Palace. With my camera of course…..