Plants are all around us in urban areas, we just have to look. London for example is teeming with plants; with wild species, curated spaces full of cultivated ones, and artistic representations all present. Take a stroll down New Bond Street right now, all the high-end designers are pushing botanics like mad. This weekend on a walk from one plant hotspot, Kensington Roof Top Gardens, to another, Liberty London, James Brian passed Kensington Gardens, the two Serpentine Galleries, Hyde Park, a street park and more. Here is what he saw, thought and captured on his smart phone. Starting the day in windy overcast light and ending it in darkness as the evening in London arrived. Map below.
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Kensington Roof Gardens
Before you make your way up to the top of the building you sign-in at reception, the lift gives you a taster of what’s to come
There is 1.5 acres in total of roof garden divided into three areas, one of which is the ‘Spanish Garden’ based on the Alhambra in Spain.
It’s hard to believe that the large trees growing in the ‘English Woodland Garden’ only need the 18 inches of earth they have available.
The flamingos are so watchable. They seem to enjoy the ‘English Woodland Garden’ best probably because that’s where the water is. Let’s hope they are happy here being gawked at.
First plant related plaque of the day displays the age of the garden.
It was so windy and overcast. Pictures were difficult, the plants kept moving like this beautiful blooming Acacia tree.
At the south west entrance you turn right and you find yourself in the South Flower Walk leading to the Albert Memorial, not at its best just yet but helleborus, daffodils, camelias were all blooming.
Horse Chestnut tree leaf buds are starting to burst
The Serpentine Gallery
Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue exhibition was currently showing: Powerful large scale artworks concerned with social justice. Found two paintings with plants in Mercenaries II (1975)
Bridge over Serpentine Lake
The road over the bridge leading to the second Serpentine gallery splits Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park. The blossoms were starting to come out.
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery
A mad but brilliant sensory assault of an exhibition. Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou in Boomerang uses recycled materials, many plant-based. Carrier bags on twigs (ceiling) is apparently a constant in all his exhibitions.
This cotton wool balloon with wood sticking out, reflects on the colonial history of cotton production
Fake leaves in plastic towers run from floor to ceiling.
Areas were cordoned off for turf relaying – a lot of new turf. The daffodils were in full swing however. The sun was going down. Beautiful.
Mount Street Gardens
You can spend your whole life in London and not visit all it’s public spaces. This one you happen upon, you don’t set out for a visit and that is what’s so pleasing.
Second flowering Acacia of the day, the yellow flowers where set-off by the orange brick.
Palm tree surrounded by benches. More seats than would ever be needed as no-one was here, but it is a former burial ground so maybe the benches were being used. They certainly look like they are enjoying the palm. Getting dark.
South Audley Street
Second plant related plaque of the day, this time a blue one for Constance Spry
Mayfair floral shop window opulence
It’s not everyday you see a bouquet of this size left out on the street.
Liberty London has plants everywhere, with florals in every kind of design imaginable. It must be the most plant-centric department store in the world.
Botanical hangings. It goes on and on and on. Perhaps the 5th floor at Libertys is the best floor of any department store in London, and it’s the endless representations of plants that do it.