The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nigel Dunnett's Roof Garden in the City of London

While I was in England last month, a gardening friend showed me Nigel Dunnett's newly installed garden in The City of London. My friend, Giacomo Guzzon, is a recent graduate from landscape architect school works for a firm that has its offices near the garden called Beech Gardens. Beech gardens is a roof garden that uses a modern and ecologically sensitive design approach that takes into consideration biodiversity and aesthetics in equal measure. Dunnett is perhaps best known for designing the  meadows at the London Olympic Park in 2012.

In this project, he planted over 22,000 herbaceous plants that were chosen for color interest throughout the year. Fourteen multi-stemmed trees, including silver birch, Betula pendula, and Prunus serrula.

A partial list of the plants included: Sedum ‘Jose Augergine’, Achillia ‘Terracotta’, Euphorbia characias 'Humpty Dumpty', Thymus ‘Silver Posie’, Salvia 'Caradonna', Limonium platyphyllum. The plants are combined in a way that appears to distribute the plants equally. As someone who is experienced in designing and working on public spaces, this approach will be challenging to maintain without knowledgeable gardeners. I was pleased that Giacomo showed me this garden because I have never seen Nigel Dunnett's work in person. I hope to visit the garden next year to see how it develops and matures over time.


  1. Michael, I had dinner with James Guzz and friends last week while they were visiting NYC. While in Oxford, we visited the Botanic Garden, where I saw Dunnett's Merton borders. They were looking good even this early. Well, the American prairie plants were looking good. The South African-planted areas were a little sparse, but I'm sure they fill out later in summer. Fascinating to see these new plantings made mostly with seed.

    1. James,
      James Guzz wanted me to know that you didn't see Beech Gardens during your visit! Did you show him any NYCity gardens while he was in the US?

    2. Hi Michael,
      was nice to see you in London but was way too short...Yes I met James Golden in New York, we had a lovely dinner in his neighbourhood in Brooklyn...Have a nice day! All the best, Giacomo (James)

    3. Giacomo,
      Next year I will plan on a longer visit. Thanks for this quick tour of Nigel Dunnett's work. Maybe we can re-visit it next year. Thanks for your hospitality!

    4. Michael, I unfortunately had to work while James was in NYC, so we met only once. At this point he knows more about NYC gardens than I do, I'm ashamed to say. I'm working now because I take a month in England July-Aug.

  2. James, have a great time when you return to England. I hope you are planning on doing posts of the gardens you visit!



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