London In Bloom and Beyond

On 26 June, we hosted two judges from London in Bloom who assessed Strand Aldwych for the Small Parks Award. The Strand Aldwych scheme is a striking new landscape that brings people in close contact with nature right in the heart of historic, central London. An exemplar of a softer, greener, healthier city that better meets daily needs. It was designed by LDA Design and introduces nature to a previously car-dominated network and in a way that enhances the Grade I listed architecture which lines the street.

Strand Aldwych is part of a network of green spaces of all shapes and sizes within London Heritage Quarter. Several have been established and are tended to by groups of volunteers. In their spare time they also help create a softer, greener, healthier city. For this London in Bloom and Beyond feature, we spoke with each group and started off by asking how they got underway.



Royal Courts of Justice Gardening Group

A few metres from Strand Aldwych are the Royal Courts of Justice. In the greenspaces and courtyards within the building, a group of enthusiastic voluntary gardeners meet regularly to undertake an array of greening activities. We caught up with the team to find out what they do in a conversation which can be read here. The key findings are highlighted below.

  • Established in 2022, prompted by the nearby Strand Aldwych work.
  • Reusing materials is a key part of the group’s activities.
  • Multiple initiatives undertaken to date, including sowing a wildflower meadow.



Buckingham Gate Gardens

The four planters on Buckingham Gate besides Wellington Barracks are owned by the Ministry of Defence but have been tended to by local residents for over ten years. One of the group members, Claude, told us how the group came about and recalled the unique value the planters held during the COVID pandemic. Important moments from the interview can be seen below and the full article can be read here.

  • Comprises four planters on Buckingham Gate by Wellington Barracks.
  • Established for over 10 years.
  • Sweeping, litter picking, mowing, and planting are key tasks.
  • A place of comfort for residents during COVID-19.



King’s Scholars’ Passage Gardening Group

We spoke with Bridget and Sarah about this gardening group that’s making a real difference in the area. Bridget and Sarah have been instrumental in setting up a gardening group in King’s Scholars’ Passage. Key points from the interview are summarised below and the full conversation can be found here.

  • Established during lockdown.
  • Residents of Carlisle Place and The Passage working together.
  • Large water butts installed to help with sustainability and make better use of rainwater.



Tate Britain Gardening Group

The world-renowned Tate Britain lies in the southern boundary of London Heritage Quarter. Read the full article here, where Bella Sereno, the Tate Galleries’ Environmental & Sustainability Manager, tells us what greening projects she and her colleagues have underway. Highlights from the interview can be found below.

  • An opportunity for staff to get ‘hand-on’ with nature.
  • Activities span pond installation, seed bombs and foraged leaf monoprinting.
  • Re-using exhibition materials as planters to reduce waste.