I saw this tweet last week –

@ecoschemes: The Roof Gardens, Kensington, central London. Six floors up, these trees were planted in the 1930s. http://t.co/K1efSC8t

I had not heard of these gardens so went travelling with Google.  What I found was astounding.  An enormously beautiful rooftop garden bigger & better than I could have imagined.

The building, ‘Derry & Toms Department Store’ was opened in 1933.  Between 1936-1938 a very progressive Landscape Architect even in today’s terms, Ralph Hancock created the gardens at a cost of £25,000. This was a fortune in those days, but the gardens have repaid the outlay cost many times over.

A Tree Preservation Order was placed on the trees in 1976 & English Heritage listed The Roof Gardens in 1978.  Sir Richard Branson bought the building & gardens in 1981.

There are 3 themed gardens spread over 1.5 acres of rooftop.  From the website –

1.    “Spanish Garden: Based on the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, this garden has a distinct Moorish flavour.

2.    Tudor Garden: This garden is filled with evergreen shrubs surrounded by fragrant lilies, roses & lavender in the summer months, while wisteria fills the air with its delicate fragrance.

3.    English Woodland: This is undoubtedly at its best in the spring months, when thousands of narcissus, crocus, muscari & anemones burst into life. Here you will also find Bill, Ben, Splosh & Pecks – our four resident flamingos. We also have a number of resident ducks which all have clipped wings to keep them within the safe confines of our unique habitat.” 

The English Woodland garden has over 30 species of trees growing in 1-metre of soil. Many of the trees are the originals planted back in the 1930s.  The resident ducks, fish & flamingos live in a stream….with pond….& over 100 trees….growing on a roof!

The Roof Gardens website has a slideshow of photos throughout the gardens – http://www.roofgardens.virgin.com/en/the_roof_gardens/gallery/the_gardens

You can also watch a video The Roof Gardens, Kensington High Street, London here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oYZRoymYuo  (2.44 minutes) &

The Kensington Roof Garden – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyMK1RP1yvY (1 minute).

This is another place for my Bucket List.   Please send donations to the SoT Benevolent Society. 🙂

The photo astounded me. If only developers would create roof gardens more often. This particular garden shows how beautiful they can look, how useful the space can be & just how long trees can last if planted well & cared for. Thank you to Gary Grant @ecoschemes for permission to post his photo.