The Chief Executive of London Square is calling for more communal green spaces to be created in established and new neighbourhoods and residential areas to give people a place to relax and enjoy a leafy setting.
London Square Chief Executive Adam Lawrence also paid tribute to the volunteers at the Doddington & Rollo Community Roof Garden in Battersea, whose work to create a green haven provided the inspiration for the London Square Community Garden, which won a coveted gold medal and a royal seal of approval at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Pictures released by the RHS show garden designer James Smith and Adam Lawrence being presented to Queen Camilla on the London Square Community Garden, one of three gardens at the show chosen for a visit by the King and Queen. Queen Camilla enjoyed trying out the swing seat in a shady corner of the garden, telling reporters: "I might stay here." The Queen was interested in the background to the garden and the inspiration provided by the Doddington & Rollo Roof Garden. Earlier this year, The Queen had visited the STORM Family Centre on the Doddington estate, which provides support for families affected by domestic violence, as well as training for employment and lunch clubs for the elderly.
"Working with James Smith and the volunteers from Doddington to create this magical garden at Chelsea has been the most incredible experience for everyone. We wanted to show how a communal garden can be created in a relatively small space and yet make a big difference to people's lives, in the way that Doddington transformed the roof of a former car park. What has made Chelsea so very special is that it has been a true community effort, with a great team led by James Smith creating a gold-winning garden and now the main elements of the garden are being moved to Doddington where the story started. At London Square, we always build green spaces for residents to enjoy in our new neighbourhoods. I would like to see more communal gardens being created in established communities like Doddington and other residential districts. It doesn't take much space to create a garden for people to enjoy.
A team of volunteers from the Doddington roof garden worked with designer James Smith to help build the garden in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Malissa Ritchie, chair of the volunteers, and Marie Hanson MBE, director of the STORM family centre, joined James Smith, London Square and a group of Chelsea Pensioners to celebrate the opening of the garden and also met TV presenter and furniture restorer Jay Blades, star of BBC-TV's The Repair Shop, who created the upcycled chairs for the garden.
Winning a gold medal was the most amazing accolade - and then meeting the King and Queen, who were really interested in how the garden was inspired by the roof garden on the Doddington estate.
We are very proud to have taken part in this project, winning a gold medal at Chelsea. Green spaces are essential for everyone at every age. It's brilliant to have the opportunity to collaborate with London Square on this garden. I encourage all of you to get outside whenever you can and experience the peace and joy that green spaces bring.
We are beyond excited that our community efforts have inspired a gold medal-winning garden. So many of our volunteers helped build the Chelsea garden and spent hours meticulously deadheading flowers and watering plants, so this is a big success for our whole community.
Malissa Ritchie, chair of the Doddington garden volunteer
The idea for the garden started across the river in Battersea. Hidden away between high-rise blocks on the top of a former car park on the Doddington & Rollo estate is a half-acre secret garden created by volunteers, built almost entirely with donated plants from Kew Gardens and nearby Battersea Park. London Square discovered the garden after sponsoring the Open Gardens Weekend across the capital last year, run by the London Gardens Trust. The Doddington garden took part, with local people and visitors enjoying a barbecue sponsored by London Square, with summer flowers in full bloom, edible crops, butterfly friendly plants, fig, cherry and apple trees, and produce grown and shared by local residents.
For the London Square Community Garden, designer James Smith created two distinct areas. Under a pergola, there was a welcoming place to meet up with an outdoor kitchen, a large bespoke terrazzo table, inset with bespoke chess and draught boards, and stylish upcycled chairs by TV presenter and furniture restorer Jay Blades, with raised beds containing edible produce for cooking. Stepping stones lead to a peaceful spot with a large swing seat, which Queen Camilla enjoyed during her visit. and garden bookcase set in a tranquil planted area, with a shady spot under the canopy of a tree.
Planting was a mix of lush green textures with blue, purple, white, and pink flowers, with aromatic and scented plants, herbs and shrubs, with trees providing dappled shade. The pergola is covered with fragrant white jasmine. The produce section of the garden has a mixture of vegetables and herbs, with scented thyme planted around the edge of the seating area.